How can Chromebooks get anti-virus software?

No, virus protection is not required on a Chromebook

Recently, Malwarebytes announced an antivirus program for Chromebooks (via the Android app). But here's the thing: this is utter nonsense. You don't need an anti-virus program on Chrome OS. I don't care how they're trying to sell it.

See Chromebooks (Note: This generally applies to Chrome OS. However, the term “Chromebook” is still used for simplicity. This is one of their biggest selling points - they're virus-resistant. Simply put, there are no viruses on Chrome OS. What is the selling point of Malwarebytes? Because Chromebooks can run Android apps, they have the same vulnerabilities as Android devices.

Give me a break. That's not even remotely true.

CONNECTED:8 things you might not know about Chromebooks

Why don't Chromebooks need an antivirus program?

As mentioned earlier, there is no virus for Chrome OS. There are several reasons for this, but the main reason lies in Sandboxing. Every tab you open is the one in the Chrome browser, or a standalone web app - runs in a virtual sandbox. This means that if the system identifies an infected page, the "infection" only exists in this tab. it has no way of finding its way to the rest of the system. And if you close that tab, it will kill the sandbox. So no infection.

If by some wild chance some type of malware comes out on its way out of this sandbox, Verified Boot will continue to protect the system. The integrity of the operating system is checked every time a Chromebook is started. If it detects an anomaly - meaning the system has been changed - it will repair itself. The only exception is if you've enabled developer mode, which disables verified boot and allows changes to be made to the system. Obviously, this is not recommended for the majority of users.

In addition, Chromebooks receive regular updates and always bring security updates with them.

The Malwarebytes Argument

While admitting that Chromebooks are by nature, Malwarebytes also kind of claims that they "can still be infected". This is believed to be what Android apps claim, as the version of software marketed for Chromebooks is the Android app. The thing is Android apps Likewise They need to run in a separate container (sandbox) so that whatever happens in the Android environment doesn't affect the rest of the operating system.

So I think Malwarebytes' thinking goes something like this: If there are Trojans and malware on Android, the same problems can occur on Chrome OS! And although I would like to admit that technically this is not the case not correctdoesn't do it right either. You no longer need an antivirus program on Android than on Chrome OS. In fact, you need one even less on the latter.

Google does a pretty good Task of keeping malware out of the Play Store by using Google Play Protect. It scans every app that comes in on Google Play for potential threats and then blocks anything that raises a red flag. It's not a perfect system - as with any similar solution, some threats make it, although rare.

And really, when it comes to Android viruses / Trojans / malware there is one common thread: third-party app stores. In most cases, users get malicious apps from unsupervised app stores or even those that promote piracy by offering paid apps for free. These store types are only asking for trouble. You know the kind that uses legitimate apps like PayPal to steal money from you. The bad stuff.

That's just one thing to say: if you're not using third-party app stores on your Chromebook (or Android device!), Guess what? There is a very little chance that you will ever need an anti-virus program. Tiny. For the sake of simplicity, you can't install third-party app stores (or other applications) on a Chromebook without first enabling Developer Mode: application sideloading is blocked by default in Chrome OS for security reasons. In other words, Chromebooks are inherently protected against most Android threats by default. A lot of additional work is required before you can bypass this protection.

CONNECTED:What is Google Play Protect and how does it protect Android?

Okay, does Malwarebytes do something on Chrome OS too?

Yes and no It offers "virus protection" that checks every newly installed Android app for malicious intent. But that's exactly what pretty much every virus protection device does on Android. The good news is that Malwarebytes at least detected the test virus I installed from Google Play to see if it worked.

In addition, Malwarebytes offers a "security audit" in which the settings of your device are checked for potential security risks - all related to Android.

For example, you will be notified when developer options are enabled in the Android settings menu on your Chromebook. However, you will not be notified if your device is in developer mode, which is one much more Unsafe setting on Chrome OS computers because it effectively disables most of Chrome OS's greatest security features. Why? Because it's running in a sandbox that the rest of the operating system can't see!

It also tells you that if you don't use a PIN, pattern, or password, your device has "Unsecured Android Settings" - options that aren't available in Android Settings on Chromebooks because Chrome OS does these things itself. However, Malwarebytes cannot detect this because it is an Android app that runs in a separate container that is separate from the rest of the operating system.

Plus, it's just funny that it turns out to be trivial.Settings like Device Encryption and Google Play Protect are turned on by default on all Android devices and Chromebooks. Encryption cannot even be turned off on modern devices. It's just placebo bullshit.

How to stay safe on your Chromebook

As we noted earlier, Chromebooks are pretty much secure from the get-go The It is difficult to keep your book safe. However, we have a guide on how to make sure your Chromebook is as secure as possible.

Aside from the options described in this article, the same rules apply here as for Android, especially when it comes to malware:

  • Be smart. Just pay attention to what you install. Google Play Protect is doing a good job most Malware from the Play Store, but like I said, a few things get through. So make sure the app you are installing is real - read the comments, check out the developer, etc.
  • Leave developer mode disabled. Most users have no reason to ever enable developer mode on their Chromebooks. However, if you come across a reason to consider doing this, think long and hard before making that leap. This will seriously affect the security of your Chromebook.
  • Keep your Chromebook up to date. If you get an update, install it. As simple as that.

While an antivirus app on a Chromebook can sound like a good idea, it's just unnecessary. But the good news is that if you insist on using one, it probably won't hurt anything. Sometimes I think that a safety blanket is just an unfortunate must-have.