Are Chromebooks really virus free?

Chromebooks are known for many things. They are fast, light, simple and have great battery life (or at least used to). But there is one specific thing Google has always been able to say: Chrome OS is a virus-free ecosystem.

Yes, the video is hilarious, and mostly true. Due to its web-based nature, Chrome OS is mostly immune to viruses (at least so far). Does this mean it is completely safe, though? Not exactly. There are still some precautions to be taken, though not as many as with other computers (including Macs). The only risk Chrome OS users have to keep in mind is phishing.

Phishing is when companies are impersonated by a separate entity in order to obtain your private information. Many of these criminals mask themselves as banks or government agencies, for example. Their sites will look very similar to the legitimate one, fooling the user into thinking he/she is in the clear to enter any info. This allows hackers to obtain user names, passwords and other sensitive information. Sometimes even details as delicate as addresses and social security numbers.

Chrome is very good at sandboxing and protecting you from such threats, but don’t ever trust your devices to fully take care of you. Your most important protection is your ability to make smart decisions while navigating the internet. Make sure you only visit legitimate sites. Don’t give out your information to any random or suspicious website. Do your research. These are all tactics we should apply to browsing… and life, really.

Since we are all Chromies here, I will introduce you to a nifty extension I use often – Avast! WebRep. This extension is community driven and let’s you know if other users have reported the site to be malicious or contain spam. Another extension I like to use is Alexa Traffic Rank. This is not exactly aimed at security, but it helps you make rational decisions.

For example, if I try to go to my bank account and see that it has a bad Alexa ranking, I will know it is pretty much not the real one. Major banks are more than likely to have very high Alexa ranks, as they get substantial amounts of traffic. This is not exactly a set solution, but it helps me browse responsibly many times.

With this in mind, enjoy your Chromebooks, guys! You just need to realize there is no such thing as being too safe. Even if Chrome OS is essentially virus-free, you are still at risk of being attacked. Be careful! Do you guys have any other tips for keeping your Chromebooks and info secure?