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Is it safe to use your Chromebook after the AUE date?

If you own a Chromebook or are considering buying a Chromebook you may already know about the AUE date. This stands for Automatic Update Expiry Date. All Chromebooks come with an AUE date. I’ve deliberately kept my Toshiba Chromebook 2 to see what happens once the AUE date has expired. Yes, the AUE Date for my Toshiba Chromebook 2 is approaching, so it’s the perfect time to look into this further.

Although I still have my Toshiba Chromebook I’ve not used it for at least three years. This is why for me personally the AUE date isn’t much of an issue. This will be the same for anyone who likes to update their laptops every four or five years. However, if you buy a laptop and expect to use it for many years after that. Then the AUE date is something you need to consider.

In this post, I’ll be looking at all the different things you need to consider about the Chrome OS AUE date. This is the best way to get a good understanding of the risks involved once the AUE Date has expired.

What is the AUE date?

The Automatic Update Expiry Date is found on all Chrome OS devices. If your AUE date has not yet expired. It means you’ll still receive automatic updates for the Chrome OS operating system. These updates take place roughly every six weeks, so these updates do bring many advantages.

One part of the update is about providing you with new features that the Chrome OS team have been working on. These new features are sometimes minor, but certain updates offer new functionality, which you’ll find really useful. The second part of the update is about security. Chrome OS is considered one of the safest computers available. This is partly because your Chromebook receives regular updates, which includes any security updates where vulnerabilities may have been found.

My Toshiba Chromebook 2
My Toshiba Chromebook 2 AUE date is September 2021

This means if you’re using a Chromebook where the AUE date has not expired. You’ll have the peace of mind that you don’t need to worry about security issues. This is really important when you consider the internet, although great, comes with risks. These include viruses, malware and other vulnerabilities people may take advantage of. The main reason is to steal your identity or to gain access to your finances. So it’s extremely important to feel safe when surfing the internet.

After the AUE date has expired

Once your Chrome OS device AUE date has expired. You’ll no longer receive these automatic updates. This means you’ll not get any further improvements made to Chrome OS rolled out to your computer. It also means you’ll not receive any future updates that concentrate on keeping your computer secure.

There has been a lot of debate about whether a Chromebook is safe to use after the AUE date. Everyone will have a different opinion on this. However, I’m hoping I’ll cover everything you need to know in this post. If you’re looking for a straight yes or no answer on whether your Chromebook will be safe after the AUE Date. Then, unfortunately, I cannot really give you one because it depends on many different factors. This is why I’ve written this post, which will look at all of these factors. Whether you’ll be safe to use your Chromebook after the AUE date depends on what you use your computer for.

Can I still use my Chromebook after the AUE date?

Yes, you can still use your Chromebook once the AUE date has expired. About a month before the expiry date you’ll receive a notification letting you know your AUE date is approaching. Although my Chromebook AUE date isn’t until September 2021. When this date has passed. I’ll still be able to use my device as normal.

The only difference is I’ll no longer receive any updates, which means I will not be able to take advantage of any future improvements to Chrome OS. As mentioned, it will also mean my Chromebook will not receive any future security updates.

Android and Linux Apps

When it comes to risks in relation to viruses and malware. One of the main reasons why Chromebooks are safer is because you don’t run executable programs. Viruses need to be executed by a program to infect your computer. Most of us use the Chromebook to surf the internet or use apps directly from the internet. None of this will expose you to viruses because you’re not installing programs locally.

When Android and Linux apps became available on Chrome OS. It was no longer the case that you could argue a virus cannot be installed. This is because Android and Linux apps are programs that install locally. If you install a program locally, there is always a risk of a virus if the app you install is rogue. This is why it’s important to be careful about what you install.

Android Apps are not available on older Chromebooks
Android Apps are not available on older Chromebooks

If you’re receiving automatic updates the risks are extremely low. This is because the security protection offered by Chrome OS is very strong indeed. Find out more about what makes a Chromebook secure. However, once you stop receiving updates, over time, you could be exposing yourself to more risk. Not having the ability to install Android or Linux Apps on older devices reduces that risk.

Chrome Browser Extensions

Browser extensions are great because they provide a lot of extra functionality when using your browser. That being said, they are also the one thing I’m always very wary of. If you trust the company that created the extension then you should be fine if you’re still receiving automatic updates.

Once automatic updates have expired. I would personally not have any Chrome browser extensions installed on my Chromebook. This would also include extensions from companies I trust. The reason for this is any vulnerabilities that may have been fixed with an automatic update, would not be fixed if your computer is no longer receiving these updates.

If you’re intending on using your Chromebook to surf the internet after the AUE date. Then I would strongly suggest you remove all of your Chrome browser extensions. It may be a little over the top, but it’s better to be safe when your identity and financials are at stake. I’d also remove any web apps you may have installed from third parties.

Is internet banking safe after the AUE date?

You could argue it would be safe to do internet banking after the AUE date because the bank web address is secured using HTTPS. HTTPS does provide you with extra security when transmitting data from your Chromebook and the internet server you’re connected with. However, you should not assume HTTPS is unbreakable. If you’re receiving automatic updates then HTTPS is very secure.

The issue will arise if scammers find a way to infect your browser once automatic updates have stopped. If they do find a way you’ll be none the wiser and any vulnerabilities spotted with an update will not apply to you. When you visit a website that has HTTPS protection. It simply means any data transmitted from your computer and the website you’re visiting is protected during transmission.

banking on a chromebook after aue date
Banking on a Chromebook after AUE date is not secure

When you visit your banking website. Your browser will check whether the HTTPS certificate is valid. It does this by communicating with your bank. If everything is ok, then you’ll see a secure padlock in your browser. If there is an issue, then you would receive a warning. Never enter details into any website where the browser has warned you it isn’t safe or the certificate is out of date.

If your browser has been compromised. It makes it possible for a man in the middle attack to take place. Your browser would check if the banking certificate was valid, and this would be intercepted. Any information you then provide can be intercepted. This would be far less likely to happen if you were receiving automatic updates.

Is it safe to use a Chromebook after the AUE date?

Although you can still use your Chromebook after the AUE date. I think we can be satisfied it’s a risk in doing so. You’ll be fine to use your Chromebook for a couple of months, as it’s unlikely you’ll be exposed to risks immediately. However, using a Chromebook any longer than this can pose a risk.

I would certainly avoid any type of internet banking or online shopping where you need to enter security details or banking details. The risk is too great and is not worth it. The only thing you’ll really be safe doing is internet surfing. Providing you don’t enter any details about you or your finances. It’s unlikely you’ll be exposing yourself to risk if you are merely watching YouTube movies or checking out your local news website.

When you consider Chromebooks now get eight years of updates. I don’t think this is much of an issue. Not for anyone buying a new Chromebook and where the device you’re buying has only just been released. It’s more of an issue for the second-hand market, or if you buy a new Chromebook, which was, in fact, released a few years previously.

If you’ve reached your AUE date the best option is to buy a new Chromebook. If you don’t want to do this then you could look into installing Cloud Ready on your Chromebook. If you’re considering buying a new device. Then take a look at these Top Ten Chromebooks from 2020.

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