Over the years, we’ve gone in-depth regarding the question, “Can Chromebooks get viruses?” wondering whether the deed was ever possible in the first place. The answer is a blatant no with only a modicum of room for doubt. However, if your Chromebook has been acting out of proportion, you might think a virus has somehow seeped in.
People frequently ask, “How do I know if my Chromebook has a virus?” and the rejoinder here is nothing but straightforward. Keep on reading as we discover what changes are applied to your system in the wake of a viral invasion, including what you can do to resolve the matter almost immediately.
- More from Chrome Ready: How to install and use Avast Antivirus on Chromebook.
What happens when a Chromebook gets virus-ridden?
When your trusty Chromebook gets infected with malware, you’ll be prompted by a message saying you have a virus, followed by a locked browser window. More apparent signs of a virus infecting ChromeOS is that different apps, especially ones from the Google Play Store, will start opening up randomly without you doing anything yourself.
The same goes for the Chrome browser and system-installed utilities like “Files.” Another scenario about this unfortunate instance is your Chromebook restarting on its own regardless of any manual input from your side. You might also receive consistent error prompts while surfing the internet with your Chrome browser.
Google does a great job of minimizing pop-ups and blocking third-party sources from cluttering your working interface. Still, in the case of a virus invasion, all layers of security will be broken down, and your Chromebook will be as vulnerable to malware as a deer with broken legs.
Moreover, some basic functionalities of the device, such as double-clicking, powering off, opening up applications, and accessing your data from anywhere in the system, may stop working partially. These are some of the clearest signs hinting that you have just been hit with malware, including the fact that you may get spied on.
However, let us now get to the more critical part of the discourse: whether Chromebooks can genuinely contract a virus in the first place. Fortunately, ChromeOS is incredibly rare to get infected in this manner. These are security-oriented devices that are built with consolidated protection levels in mind.
Google has officially claimed that Chromebooks have never been hit with ransomware in their functioning period. The standard of security incorporated in these devices is just too grand for a mere virus to handle in most scenarios. But anyhow, let’s assume for a moment that some malware has managed to latch onto the device.
What now? All you need to do is restart your Chromebook, and there’s a 90% chance your worries will be over. We’ll go over how in the next section. For now, though, let us talk about another important matter about the topic that you should be wary of.
If there’s a chance — no matter how small — of your Chromebook getting a virus to its name, it’s probably going to come from either a Google Play Store app or an unsolicited Chrome Web Store extension. That’s why you have to be extremely careful not to set off on the wrong path with the sea of options you get to have at your disposal on a day-to-day basis.
How to fix your Chromebook if it has a virus
Chromebooks have a containment system that makes it very hard for an infection to get out. Whenever you open a tab, web page, or application, you’re running it in a “sandbox” environment. This means that if a virus or malware infects your opened tab, it will not affect the rest of the operating system, thereby becoming fully contained.
Even if a virus somehow makes its way out of the containing sandbox, there’s another security measure in line waiting for it. Whenever you turn on your Chromebook, it performs a self-check called “Verified Boot.” This allows the system to check for potential risks, breaches, and malware and wipes the system clean from danger.
Thus, your computer is still protected, and the virus that had its hopes up only saw its fortune fall to demise. This is quite an effortless way of keeping the system in check. Whenever you feel like your Chromebook has a virus hidden inside somewhere, go ahead and give your Chromebook a solid restart.
Antivirus software, especially from a trusted name like Malwarebytes, is fantastic when it cuts down to destroying invading malware. We advise installing one of these programs from day one, so you can potentially minimize the risk of virus infections.
Although names like Norton Mobile Security, TotalAV, and Bitdefender Mobile Security are all reputable, the top 5 free antivirus software for Chromebooks will keep you hooked to the platform with robust protection.
How to stay safe moving forward
The following is a handy to-do list that you should never forget regarding the safety of your Chromebook. Remember: your online security vastly depends on you, the type of websites you visit, and the media that you download from the internet.
Ignore unofficial download sources
This might make you the best of any other advice we give you. Ignore malicious third-party stores. You bring down the chances of virus infections drastically. Remember, apps that are only paid for in the Play Store can never bode well for your Chromebook if they’re offered to you for free somewhere else.
You’re putting your whole device at risk if you download anything from third-party app stores. Keep a keen eye out if you want to download anything. Ten seconds of thinking beforehand could save you from a malicious party.
Whether it’s a browser extension or any app that has piqued your interest, ask yourself- am I downloading this from a trustworthy source? Try to do all installs from genuine places like the Google Play Store and Chrome’s Web Store.
Always keep ChromeOS up-to-speed with the latest updates
Holding back on your Chromebook updates and delaying them for no good reason can’t ever be a good thing for your speedy gadget. Whenever you’re being told that you need to update, do that on the spot without a second thought.
Updates usually bring advanced levels of security; restarting your device is another excellent way of eliminating risks and giving you a better version to work with. All in all, update your Chromebook regularly.
Simply put, it’s extremely rare for a Chromebook to contract malware or a virus. The multiple layers of protection make it almost impossible for this hefty operating system to be breached. This is one of the reasons why these fast-paced computers are one of the most secure devices one could ever pick up for personal use.
The Chrome operating system consists of top-of-the-line security. This is also combined because we aren’t talking about a full-fledged software here, but rather one sized down with minimal features for rapid productivity. Therefore, lesser complications equal to lesser problems related to security.
However, in the case that you’re hit with some virus, and you start observing all the telltale signs of the scenario at hand, there are multiple things you can do to get back to your Chromebook’s full functioning. Every necessary bit of information has been laid out above, so here’s hoping you’ve found the guide useful for your cause.
As always, Chrome Ready wishes you good luck!
- Related read: How to hide files on your Chromebook.