Why you don’t need Virus Protection software for your Chromebook

By - Dan Millward

Published -

One thing that will make anyone feel worried is the words computer virus or malware. It’s understandable really because they can take over your computer and steal your important data. This means making sure you’re protected when online is an absolute must. The good news is, you don’t need Virus Protection software if you use a Chrome OS computer. If you’ve heard otherwise, then let me explain why you should ignore any bad advice you’ve been given.

Unlike other operating systems such as Microsoft and Apple, which were created before the internet was used by the mainstream consumer. And way before the World Wide Web was created in 1989 by British born Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Chrome OS was launched in 2011 by Google. This allowed Google to build an operating system from the ground up.

Because the internet was used widely when Google created Chrome OS. Making sure one of the key benefits was to keep you safe when surfing online was at the top of their list. The success of the Chromebook is because Chrome OS is fast, secure and easy to use.

Security was an important building block for Chrome OS

When you consider Microsoft and Apple were both created in the 1980s. It’s fair to say Chrome OS being launched in 2011 is the new kid on the block. This is one of the key advantages Google had to play with. Instead of dealing with patches when it comes to viruses, which Microsoft do. Google was able to build an operating system from the ground up whilst keeping in mind the importance of security.

I’ve owned a Chromebook from the very beginning and owned many more since then. I can safely say I’ve never experienced an issue with computer viruses. Why? because you cannot get a virus on a Chromebook or Chromebox. Anyone who tells you otherwise is simply uneducated when it comes to Chrome OS.

What I find upsetting is that some websites, even big players in the tech blogging world. Still post articles such as ‘the top ten anti-virus software programs for your Chromebook’. It’s shocking that these websites post such stuff when it simply isn’t possible for Chrome OS to get infected with a virus.

Verified Boot

There are many layers of protection for Chrome OS. The first is verified boot. When you turn on your Chromebook an automatic check of the operating system takes place. You’ll not notice this happening as it’s all part of the booting up process. If there are any changes to the operating system code. It is replaced with the correct code. Essentially, it removes any code that should not be there.

Again, this all happens without you even noticing. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a situation where the code was changed. This is because it’s virtually impossible to change the code of Chrome OS. Providing you keep your Chromebook in the stable channel, which is what you’ll be using as default. Then you’ll not have any issues where the operating system code is tampered with.

Even if the code was somehow tampered with. When you turn off your computer and switch it back on again. Any of the changes in code would be removed. This layer of protection ensures a Chrome OS computer is never infected with viruses.

Chrome OS sandboxing

Everything you use in Chrome OS is sandboxed. Whether you open a Chrome browser, Android App or Linux App. Every single one of them will be sandboxed. What this means is that they cannot communicate with each other. It’s simply not possible for an Android App you’re using to communicate with a Chrome browser you may have open.

Therefore, if you do use an Android App that has a virus. The virus would not be able to do anything outside of the app. Android Apps are a lot safer than you may think. Many apps on the Play Store have been checked for viruses and malware. Therefore, providing you only install Android Apps from the Play Store. It’s highly unlikely you’ll end up using an app that contains a virus.

Android apps are sand boxed in Chrome OS
Android Apps are sandboxed

The sandboxing also means you’re protected if you visit a website that is not legit. If you visit a website that contains malware or viruses. This website would not be able to communicate with any other program, app or Chrome browser window you have open. This means any potential to cause harm is seriously limited. Anything that happens inside a sandbox is immediately removed once you stop using the app or close the Chrome browser.

Chrome OS updates every four weeks

Unlike other computers, one of the greatest advantages of Chrome OS is that it receives important updates every four weeks. These updates allow Google to deal with any known potential threats that need to be dealt with. The updates also provide new functionality for Chrome OS, which means Chrome OS is ever-evolving. These updates previously took place every six weeks.

Some of the latest changes to the functionality include changes to the Chrome OS start menu and the inclusion of a calendar, which was something that was missing from Chrome OS for a long time.

Chrome OS and the Chrome browser are used by millions of people around the world. Therefore, Google has a huge amount of data to work with. This ensures they are able to keep on top of known threats to keep you safe online.

Being sensible is key to staying safe online

Even though I’ve just explained why viruses are not an issue for Chrome OS. You still need to be sensible when you’re online. This means you should avoid installing Android Apps from unknown sources. Only do this if you 100% trust the website that is asking you to install the app. You’re much safer to stick with the Android Apps that are in the Play Store.

Chrome extensions are something else you should be sensible about. Chrome extensions help to improve your experience when browsing and offer extra functionality. However, it’s important to ensure any Chrome extension you install is from a trusted source. Do this by checking the reviews of others and how many computers have installed the extension. If there isn’t much information about an extension. Then do your homework before installing it.

You can always run a Chrome Browser safety check if you’re concerned. This will check all your extensions to make sure you don’t have any installed, which are known to have issues.

Summary

Chrome OS is without question the safest computer to use when working or playing online. It simply isn’t necessary to install anti-virus software on a Chromebook. Even if the virus protection software found an issue when you were using an Android App that contained a virus. The software could only deal with the threat whilst you were using it. Also, that threat cannot do much outside of the sandbox it’s contained in. There, it makes using anti-virus software on a Chromebook completely useless.

You have to question the motives behind blogs that insist you need virus protection software for your Chromebook. They either have a lack of knowledge on how Chrome OS works or even worse. They are simply recommending these products because they link to them and receive a commission when you spend your hard-earned money. Don’t be fooled by this. Save your money because you don’t need anti-virus software for your Chromebook.

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