Can Chromebooks get viruses or malware?

chromebook-virus-and-antivirus-software

Wondering if you need virus protection on a Chromebook is something that many first time owners ask themselves after making a purchase. In short, Google designed ChromeOS and Chromebooks so that they cannot get most viruses likes on Windows. Remember, that it is impossible to design a system that is 100% free from security manipulation and security exploits. There is always a chance that someone could gain access to your Chromebook and cause damage (although it may not exactly be called a Chromebook virus).

Are Chromebooks Virus Free?

Chromebooks are pretty darn close to being virus free. Chromebooks are about as safe as you can get when it comes to computer security due to the operating system being based upon the secure Linux kernel. This article explains a little more about viruses and malware on Chromebooks. It also touches upon several tips to stay safe while browsing the internet. Overall, Chromebook viruses are almost non-existent. This is why many people say that Chromebooks are virus free.

Do Chromebook users need to install virus protection or Antivirus software on Chromebooks?

This is the question that many Chromebook users are asking. The answer is simply no. No need to purchase special antivirus software for installation on a ChromeBook. ChromeOS is designed to be as virus-free as possible. The

This is because chromebooks come with built-in malware and virus protection with ChromeOS. This includes multiple layers of security. The Chromebook is based on the Linux operating systen but is implemented in such a way that it is very hard to install anything that would compromise your device. In fact, very few apps are actually installed on a Chromebook. Most apps are web based. Furthermore, all data that is stored on the ChromeBook harddrive is encrypted for each account. You must be signed in to access your data, and no other person can access data from a different account to install potential malware without you knowing.

Chromebook Security Measures

Another important security measure that prevents Chromebook virus installation is that a Chromebook in the default state allows users to only install web applications. Therefore, these applications are as safe as the sites that are running them. If you access a website that is slowing down your computer, it is easy to fix. Turn off your computer and turn it on again and it will work exactly as it did before. The same reason Chromebooks are easy to use is the same reason that generally Chromebooks remain virus free.

Removing Malicious Extensions and Malware from ChromeBooks

As mentioned, ChromeBooks are largely immune to most viruses that can infect Windows or MacOS computers. It is possible that users can install annoying Chromebook extensions or browser addons that slow down performance and web browsing. Thus, it is probable that there is a way to get malware onto a Chromebook. However, updates to the ChromeOS are released fast and installed automatically by Google.. Again, since you are on a very very secure ChromeOS from the beginning, additional antivirus software is probably not necessary on a Chromebook.

The only problem is that there are browser based exploits that could affect user security in ChromeOS. Again, Google works hard to spot these issues and send updates before any major security concerns happens. If you suspect something is slowing down your Chromebook, it might be due to a browser extension and you could just need to reset your Chromebook’s browser extensions. Whatever the cause, it is best to fix this immediately. Remember, that this is not a Chromebook virus, but rather a bug.

Reset Browser Extension on ChromeBooks

Most people might confuse clunky browser extensions with a Chromebook virus. If your Chromebook is acting like it has a virus, you’re going to want to turn extension syncing off in your Chromebook settings and then reset your Chromebook. Lastly, you will need to fix the problem on your Windows and/or Mac machines before turning extension syncing back on. This will prevent the bad browser extension from being re-installed. This is because other PC extensions can often be the root of the problem. There are many more malicious browser extensions on Windows PCs than ChromeOS.

Below are some steps you should do if your Chromebook is acting like it has a virus:

  1. Navigate to Settings
    • Click on the system tray, and click Settings OR
    • Type ‘chrome://settings’ into the omni bar (the address bar) and hit Enter
  2. Navigate to People
  3. Click on Advanced Sync Settings
  4. Select Choose What to Sync from the drop down.
  5. Uncheck Extensions
  6. Click OK
  7. Find and click on Show Advanced Settings…
  8. Find and click on Reset Settings
  9. Click Reset. All of your extensions are now disabled.

In general, be very suspicious of any app or extension getting installed that receives comments about hijacked web pages, installation of Ask.com as the search engine, or seems to require permissions far beyond what the app provides. These are all signs that something is not quite right with the app and that your security could be at risk.

Insecure and Dangerous Websites on Chromebooks

Sometimes users visit a website that has malware and on Windows this can be very serious. The malware locks the browser and usually tries to convince the user that in order to continue using your computer, you need to pay money with a credit card. These are all scams and will often take large sums of money from you. They can happen on any computer, including Chromebooks in you are not careful.

The good news is that each website and application on a Chromebook runs in a restricted “sandbox” environment. If one tab is infected, it cannot infect other tabs, apps, or anything else on your Chromebook. Google will also try to alert you to sites that are deemed dangerous or malicious.

Phishing Emails and Chromebooks

Phishing emails are just as dangerous for Chromebook users as they are for any other computer user. If somebody asks for your bank details and you aren’t sure about the site or source of the person asking for those details then you should not click the links. Any internet user is susceptible to these types of attacks.

Again, Chromebooks are very good at sandboxing and protecting you from such threats, but don’t ever trust your devices to fully take care of you. Your most important protection on the internet is always your ability to make smart decisions while browsing and by not visiting dangerous websites. Make sure you only visit legitimate websites. Be careful when sharing sensitive financial or private information on websites. Always make sure the person sending something is real.

This is why email Phishing is scary. Phishing is a way to attack users without having to access your computer. In essence, you are the one willingly walking up to them to hand over the information. Don’t be an easy target! Take basic steps to protect private information while browsing the internet. Phishing scams can be much more harmful than computer viruses.

Staying Safe Online with Chromebooks

As you can see, due to unsecured websites and phishing scams, not even the best ChromeOS update or virus-protection is foolproof. You need to make sure you are being careful with your information on the internet. Always be alert for something that is not right. A virus on a Chromebook may not be the most dangerous thing to happen.

In general though, Chromebook users should be less concerned about software damage to the Chromebook or ChromeOS such as a traditional PC virus. Regardless of which OS, everyone should be vigilant about identity theft. Watch bank accounts and anything containing financial information and take immediate action if anything is questionable. Definitely investigate if you think something is suspicious, even on a Chromebook.

So, can a Chromebook get a virus or malware? No, but you still need to be careful while browsing the web.

Chromebooks come with built-in malware and virus protection, with multiple layers of security:

  • Automatic update system: Virus protection stays up-to-date automatically, so you are always running the latest and most secure version. Chrome manages your updates silently in the background.

  • Sandboxing: Each Web page and application runs in a restricted “sandbox” environment. If one tab is infected, it can’t infect other tabs, apps, or anything else on your Chromebook.

  • Verified boot: The HP Chromebook automatically checks itself for tampering and corruption on startup. If a problem is detected, the system repairs itself, if possible.

  • Data encryption: All data is encrypted for each account, meaning that you must be signed in to access your data, and no other person can access data from a different account.