Can Chromebooks get Viruses? (With 3 tips increase protection)

Chromebooks are a popular choice for people looking for a secure yet easy-to-use laptop, without spending too much. It’s common knowledge that any laptop that isn’t a Macbook tends to get viruses pretty easily, but is the Chromebook different. Today, I’ll be showing you what kind of built-in virus protection Chromebooks have.

No, in general, Chromebooks cannot get viruses. This is due to their built-in virus protection features which prevent harmful files from infecting the Chromebook. There has not yet been a single case of a Chromebook getting a virus.

If you’re interested in finding out a little bit more about how Chromebooks are deemed secure, keep reading.

Chrome OS (Operating System)

The operating system which all Chromebooks use is called ‘Chrome OS’ and is built by Google to be as safe as possible – much more than regular laptops. Let’s face it, most things Google does are amazing, it’s safe to say that we can trust them (for now).

You can’t download executable files

The main reason most laptops get viruses is when you download some malware, this is essentially a file which can run a program on your device and infect it.

On most major laptops like Dell, HP and Microsoft, you can download executable files meaning that they are open to being infected with malware, and ultimately can get viruses if you’re not careful.

This is where Chromebooks are different. They don’t allow you to download executable files, rater, you download Chrome approved apps to your device instead, this way there is no chance that malware can be downloaded onto your device and give you a virus. This is a smart move by Google, but there are of course downsides to this, which you sacrifice for security. The main downside of not being able to download executable files is that it means that you can only download programs which are available on Chrome. This isn’t much of an issue if you’ll only be using it to do basic things like make text documents, browse the web, watch videos etc.

Boot verification

Another great thing about the Chromebook’s operating system is that every time you boot it, it does prechecks to see if there are any issues and if there are it will discontinue and try to diagnose the issue. This means that even if you did get some harmful things on your Chromebook, Chrome OS protects your files from being corrupted. You can really tell that the Chromebook has been built with security in mind from the ground up.

Reliance on browser

The clue’s in the name; ‘Chromebook’. The laptop was built after the large success of the secure browser ‘Chrome‘. The main way it is branded is as a lightweight and secure alternative to regular laptops. The difference between it and competitors is the importance and usage of the browser on the system. The majority of files are stored on Google Drive which is a cloud storage solution, this means that you are less likely to get harmful files on your device as you don’t need to download simple text and powerpoint files for example.

How to protect your Chromebook from viruses

Like any device, it is of course still possible to get a virus on a Chromebook, even though it is unlikely. There are steps you can take in order to prevent your Chromebook from getting infected. I will now cover the best steps to protect it in my opinion below.

Try to not download files

You don’t really need to download files on a Chromebook unless you need to work on something offline. When possible, try to keep it all on Google Drive and other online storage solutions. This way it is harder for unsafe files to get on your Chromebook.

Only visit safe sites

You know that little padlock you see in the browser bar of most sites? This is called an SSL certificate, it means that the website you are on is securely encrypted. Sites which give you viruses usually don’t have this padlock, so if you see one without, take caution.

Check external devices

Viruses can come on all things from USB sticks to large hard drives. To keep your Chromebook safe, make sure that anything you plugin to the device is safe. You can usually do this by knowing where it comes from (hint, don’t plug in a USB stick you find on the floor).

Do Chromebooks need Antivirus software?

In general, most Chromebooks don’t need any antivirus software whatsoever as many of the ways you can get a virus on a Chromebook are covered by the Chrome OS. On the other hand, some people may wish to get some extra protection and if so, I recommend you check out the Avast chrome extension.

How to check if a Chromebook has a virus

It’s usually pretty obvious when a laptop has a virus, it gets extremely slow and you can hardly do anything with it. But there has not been one single case of a Chromebook getting a virus so there is no need to check to see if your Chromebook has a virus. If you are seeing symptoms of a virus such as decreased operating speed and usability, it may be due to low battery or full storage.

For this reason, there are no virus scan programs available for the Chromebook.

What’s the best Chromebook?

Many different companies produce Chromebooks including the likes of Dell and Samsung. I did some digging and tried out a few Chromebooks, and here’s my favourite with regards to value for money and functionality:

ASUS Chromebook Flip 12.5 Inch Notebook

Check price on Amazon

What an amazing piece of kit! This Chromebook is rated as one of the Top-Rated Chromebooks of all time according to Amazon and at no surprise to myself, I loved using this laptop.

It’s fast, looks great and quick as you like. It’s ideal for anyone looking for a secure and easy-to-use laptop. I have to say, it reminds me of a Macbook and its only a fraction of the cost.

ASUS Chromebook Flip Review

Related questions about Chromebooks

I’m sure you’ve got more questions about the Chromebook and I’ll do my best to answer them for you. The questions below are the most common ones I get asked by people interested in Chromebooks.

Can Chromebooks run word?

Yes, you can open and edit Microsoft Office files like Word on Chromebooks.

Can a Chromebook be used offline?

Yes, you can use Chromebooks offline so long as you download the files to your device prior to not having an internet connection.

Can Chromebooks be hacked?

Yes, like any device which connects to a network, the Chromebook can be hacked.