One of the main reasons why the Chromebook has become so popular is because it is extremely secure. Unlike other operating systems where viruses can and do happen. Chrome OS prides itself on being an operating system where viruses cannot take root.
The reason for this is because Chrome OS comes with built-in virus protection. There is no need to install your own virus protection software. Another reason why Chromebooks are so secure is that they receive regular updates to deal with any known threats.
The great thing is you don’t need to do anything to stay protected. Everything happens in the background to keep you safe.
Chrome browser extensions
Although the Chromebook is very secure. It cannot keep you protected from your own actions. There are hundreds of Chrome browser extensions you can install on your computer. These extensions can bring extra functionality.
This makes Chrome browser extensions extremely popular. In fact, some extensions are so valuable you could argue it’s very difficult to use Chrome without using some of your favourite extensions.
The problem with these extensions is that they are without question one of the biggest risks. Chrome OS keeps the operating system protected. However, it does not deal with the extensions you install.
Rogue browser extensions
Most extensions are excellent and offer great benefits. Unfortunately, there will also be some extensions that may have been deliberately written to exploit your computer. It’s not possible for these extensions to install Viruses on your Chromebook. However, they could steal your data whilst you’re using your browser.
The easiest way to stay safe when using extensions is to only use them if they are well known. If you’re using an extension that millions of others use and it has good feedback. Then it’s more likely the extension can be trusted.
This is easier said than done. This is because we all need different extensions depending on what we need. Therefore, you may need to install an extension where there isn’t much feedback. This may be because not many people need such an extension. In this situation, it can be difficult to judge whether it can be trusted.
Well known extensions can still cause a risk
As I’ve already mentioned. The best way to stay safe when using extensions is by trying only to use well-known ones. This is definitely the best way to stay safe if you have to use them. Although this will keep risks to a minimum. It does not completely remove the risks.
Even extensions that have been created by reputable developers. The extension may have been written in such a way where hackers find vulnerabilities in these extensions. This means both the developers and the users would be unaware of the risk.
This is why it’s extremely important to use a Chromebook that still receives OS updates. Some vulnerabilities may be part of a bigger issue. These issues are usually dealt with when the browser receives security updates.
Chrome browser safety check
There is something you can do to try and minimise your risk when using extensions. There is a check you can run directly from the Chrome browser. This Chrome browser safety check, which you need to manually run will check your extensions.
This will check each individual extension you have installed. If any risks are found you’ll be notified. This is a great way to get some extra peace of mind. The safety check also looks for other risks such as passwords that have been breached.
To run a Chrome browser safety check:
- Open the chrome browser
- click on the three dots in the top right hand corner
- Click on settings
- Select Privacy and Security from the left menu
- Click on Check Now under safety check
A safety check will now run directly from your Chrome browser. If any risks are found you’ll be notified. You’ll then be able to deal with these immediately.
The Chromebook and Chromebox are extremely safe to use. This is thanks to the built-in virus protection. This means you can use your Chromebook and not worry about viruses.
If you use extensions then you do increase the risk of having your information stolen. Therefore, it’s extremely important to know what extensions you’re installing. By running the Chrome browser safety check you’ll know if any extensions you’re using are known to have security flaws.
I would regularly run this check if you add/remove new extensions on a regular basis. This will give you some extra peace of mind. It will never be 100% safe because not everything can be detected. However, it will keep you much safer than not using the tool at all.