Is a Chromebook Safe from Viruses?

edited September 2023 in PC Tech

In today’s digital age, security is a really important issue: the Internet is a big place, with many good actors and also many bad actors who may try to steal your information.

You may have heard that Chromebooks are immune to viruses. And to a certain extent, this is true: viruses on Chromebooks are exceedingly rare, due to the design of the system.

But Chromebooks are still vulnerable to malware, which means that the savvy Chromebook user should still stay vigilant to ensure the safety of their device.

And so, if you’ve ever wondered how to check your Chromebook for viruses, whether you need antivirus for Chromebook, or what kinds of malware there are on Chromebook, you’ve come to the right place.

Design features of Chromebooks

It’s a common understanding in the tech world that Chromebooks are free from viruses. This is mostly true: although viruses are occasionally detected on Chromebooks, they are exceedingly rare, especially when compared to other types of devices. This is because of several features that provide different layers of virus protection, what Google calls “defense in depth.”

One of these features is that Chromebooks update automatically. That means that your device will automatically be updated to the safest, most secure software, protecting you from viruses.

In addition, Chromebooks run Android apps, browser extensions, and separate browser windows in isolated environments, which eliminates the possibility that a virus in one place could spread to other parts of the system. This is a technique called “Sandboxing,” and it’s one way to ensure that Chromebooks can’t get viruses.

Furthermore, each time the Chromebook starts up, it performs a self-check called “Verified Boot”: this process detects if someone has tampered with or corrupted the system in any way, and repairs itself accordingly. This way, the system can get rid of viruses on your Chromebook proactively before they result in major harm to your device.

And that’s not all: any web data not stored in the cloud is automatically encrypted in local storage, which adds another layer of protection for your personal data.

With all these novel design features, it’s no wonder that Chromebooks provide excellent defense against viruses and malware.

How to scan a Chromebook for viruses? 

Although the Chromebook comes equipped with many features that scan for and get rid of viruses, it’s never a bad idea to perform a scan. If you want to check for viruses on Chromebook, try the methods below.

One simple way to do a virus check on a Chromebook is to use an already existing feature of the device: that is, restart the device to execute “Verified Boot,” which scans your Chromebook for viruses.

Many computer users rarely shut off their device, instead leaving their devices to charge overnight. For a Chromebook user, it could be a good idea to get into the habit of restarting your device regularly to scan for viruses.

Since the Chromebook already provides a lot of virus protection by itself, you may be wondering if you need antivirus. Though the Chromebook does a great job of checking for and getting rid of viruses, antivirus software can act as another layer of defense.

So if you’re looking for a higher level of security, you may consider downloading and installing some antivirus software. To ensure that the antivirus software is legitimate, you’ll want to make sure that you download it from the official Google Play Store.

Additionally, you can also scan your Chromebook for viruses by using Chrome's built-in virus scanner.

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click the three dots in the top right corner.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Scroll down and click Advanced.
  5. Under Reset and clean up, click Clean up computer.
  6. Click Find.

Chrome will scan your Chromebook for viruses and malware. If any threats are found, Chrome will give you the option to remove them.

Malware on Chromebook

While viruses are quite uncommon on Chromebooks, Chrome is less powerful in protecting your device from malware. Malware is an umbrella term referring to software used with the intent of damaging and destroying computers or stealing data.

Besides viruses, it can include software like spyware, rootkits, browser hijackers, trojans, and more. To prevent Chromebook malware, you’ll have to take a more active approach.

Two of the most common ways that malware enters the Chromebook system are through browser extensions and Android apps. Browser extensions run without sandboxing can expose your computer to risk, as malware can reproduce freely.

Although Android apps are scanned by Google for malware, the market is so vast that some malware is still able to pass through unnoticed. In that case, one way to verify the legitimacy of an app is to check the permissions to your device that it requests. If it seems fishy or too invasive, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not download it.

Third-party app stores are also highly susceptible to malware, as they aren’t subject to the same screening and vetting processes as apps on the official Google Play Store. If an app that is paid on the official Google Play Store is free on the third-party app store, that should be a sign to stay away.

Recently, there have also been several cases of fake Cryptocurrency apps: these apps trick users into depositing their Bitcoin or other currency in the app, and then don’t allow them to withdraw it.

Exercise extreme caution when using third-party app stores, or better yet, avoid them entirely: in most cases, it’s not worth the risk.


Phishing is when you receive an email that seems to be coming from a reputable company, but is actually sent by a fraudulent source with the intent of tricking you into revealing personal data.

Because phishing relies on the susceptibility of the user rather than software vulnerabilities, Chromebooks have less means of protecting you from a phishing scam. The browser may alert you when a website is suspicious, but it won’t detect everything, as scammers are constantly coming up with new techniques. If you do receive an alert from the system telling you a page is suspicious, however, be sure to take the warning and exit out of the page immediately.

If you receive a suspicious email, don’t click on any links within it, as it could potentially harm your computer. Instead, if you can’t tell if the message is genuine or not, go directly to the site and log in safely from there to confirm if there is a problem with your account.


Everybody wants to keep their devices and themselves free from harm - hopefully, the techniques in this article can help maintain your digital peace of mind.

If you’re interested in the Chromebook’s unique security features, why not check out Acer’s line of Chromebooks? In these products, state-of-the-art Chromebook virus protection converges with Acer’s golden standards of quality to create a one-of-a-kind user experience.

Matthew is a freelance content writer whose work has previously appeared in well-known language-learning blog Fluent in 3 Months and The Happy Self-Publisher. His creative work has also appeared in Otoliths, CafeLit, and the Eunoia Review. He is currently based in Taipei, Taiwan, where he is studying for a master's degree in Chinese Literature.


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