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No, you don’t need antivirus software on your Chromebook

No, you don’t need antivirus software on your Chromebook

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Recently, Malwarebytes announced an antivirus for Chromebooks (through an Android app). But here’s the thing: This is complete nonsense. You don’t need an antivirus on Chrome OS; I don’t care how they are trying to sell it.

See, Chromebooks (note: this applies to Chrome OS in general, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll continue to use the term “Chromebook”) are inherently secure. This is one of its biggest selling points – it is impervious to viruses. Simply put, there are no viruses on Chrome OS. So what is Malwarebytes’ selling point? Since Chromebooks can run Android apps, they have the same vulnerabilities as Android devices.

Give me a break. This is not true even yet.

Related: 8 things you might not know about Chromebooks

Why Chromebooks Don’t Need Antivirus

As we said earlier, there is no virus in Chrome OS. There are several reasons for this, but the main reason is protection mode. Every tab you open—whether in the Chrome browser or a standalone web app—runs in the default sandbox. This means that if the system selects an infected page, the “infection” is only inside this tab; It has no way of making its way into the rest of the system. And when you close that tab, the sandbox kills it. Thus, there is no infection.

If some type of malware appears and finds a way out of this sandbox, the verified operating system will continue to protect the system. Every time the Chromebook is turned on, it checks the integrity of the operating system. If it detects an anomaly – which means any modification in the system – it will fix itself. The only exception here is if you’ve enabled developer mode, which disables authorized booting and allows system modifications. This, of course, is not recommended for the majority of users.

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After that, Chromebooks get regular updates, with security fixes with each one.

Malwarebytes argument

While recognizing that Chromebooks are inherently secure, Malwarebytes also somehow claims that it “can still get infected.” This is assumed by Android apps because the version of the software they market for Chromebooks is their Android app. The thing is, Android apps Also Running in a separate container (sandbox), so anything that happens within the Android environment can’t harm the rest of the operating system.

So, I think Malwarebytes’ thinking goes like this: If there are Trojans and malware on Android, you can face the same issues on Chrome OS! And while I’m ready to admit they’re not technically wrongThis also does not make it correct. You don’t need an antivirus on Android any more than you do on Chrome OS. In fact, you need one less than the latter.

Google does very good The task of keeping malware out of the Play Store with Google Play Protect. It scans every app that comes to Google Play for potential threats, then blocks anything that raises a red flag. It’s not a perfect system – like any similar solution, some threats still work, although they are uncommon.

And in fact, when it comes to Android viruses/trojans/malware, there is a common thread: third-party app stores. Often times, users get malicious apps from uncensored app stores or even those that promote piracy by offering paid apps for free – these types of stores are just asking for problems. You know, the kind who use legitimate apps like PayPal to steal money from you. bad things.

This all means one thing: If you don’t use third-party app stores on your Chromebook (or Android device!), guess what? over there very Small chance that you will ever need an antivirus. Too small. To make things simpler, you can’t install third-party app stores (or any other app) on your Chromebook without first enabling developer mode — app sideloading is blocked by default on Chrome OS for security purposes. In other words, Chromebooks are inherently protected from most Android threats by default, and it takes quite a bit of extra work before you can bypass this protection.

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Related: What is Google Play Protect and how does it keep Android secure?

Well, does Malwarebytes do anything on Chrome OS?

Well, yes and no. It offers Antivirus Protection that scans every new installed Android app for any malicious intent. But that’s what every antivirus on Android does. The good news is that Malwarebytes at least detected a test virus that you installed from Google Play to verify that it worked.

On top of that, Malwarebytes offers a “security audit” that checks your device’s settings for any potential security risks – all of which are Android related.

For example, it will tell you if you have developer options enabled in the Android settings menu on your Chromebook, but it won’t alert you if your device is in developer mode and is Much more An insecure setting on Chrome OS devices because it effectively disables most of the greater security features of Chrome OS. why? Because it’s running in sandbox it can’t see the rest of the OS!

Likewise, it will tell you that your device has “Android settings are not secure” if you don’t use a PIN, pattern, or password—options that aren’t even available in Android Settings on Chromebooks because Chrome OS itself handles these things. But again, Malwarebytes can’t see that, because it’s an Android app and it runs in a separate container, separate from the rest of the OS.

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Plus, it’s funny that it shows trivial settings like “Device Encryption” and “Google Play Protection,” both of which are enabled by default on all Android devices and Chromebooks. Hell, it’s not even possible to disable encryption on modern devices. It’s just fake nonsense.

How to keep yourself safe on your Chromebook

As we’ve already established, Chromebooks are perfectly safe right out of the box, so they aren’t who – which It’s hard to keep your book safe. However, we do have a guide on making sure your Chromebook is as secure as possible.

Outside of the options in this article, the same rules here apply to Android, especially when it comes to malware:

  • be clever. Just pay attention to what you install. Google Play Protect does a good job of saving files bone Malware from the Play Store, but as I said earlier, some things go through. So make sure the app you’re installing is legit – read the comments, check with the developer, etc.
  • Keep developer mode disabled. Most users have no reason to enable developer mode on their Chromebooks, but if you happen to have reason to look into it, think twice before you make that leap – it will greatly reduce your Chromebook’s security.
  • Keep your Chromebook updated. If you get an update, install it. Simply.

While an antivirus app on your Chromebook might do that sound As a good idea, it’s unnecessary. But the good news is that if you insist on using one, it probably won’t hurt anything. Sometimes I think the security blanket is just a pity.


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