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Understanding Chromebooks: Are They Really That Safe?

Chromebooks are well-known for being affordable, easy to use, and lightweight laptops.

These devices are centered around the Chrome web browser, which allows access to web-based apps such as Google Docs and Google Sheets.

Because of their Linux-based OS and famous sandboxing feature, they are also considered a safer laptop alternative. But is Chrome OS enough to keep users safe online without additional protection? Let’s find out.

What are Chromebooks?

Chromebooks use Chrome OS and focus on web-based app functionalities. User data is sent to the cloud, meaning users always have access to backups if something goes wrong with their Chromebook.

These laptops are designed to be functional and fit anyone’s budget. Therefore, the hardware isn’t as powerful as that of Windows and Apple laptops.

Even though Chromebooks might not have breathtaking specifications, they are suitable for everyday tasks such as browsing the web, writing essays in Google Docs, sending emails, and enjoying your favorite streaming services.

The latest Chromebook versions allow users to download Android apps from the Google Play Store.

How do Chromebooks work?

Google announced Chrome OS in the summer of 2009. They wanted to develop an operating system with web-based applications, which meant improved speed for users who mainly browse the web on their laptops.

However, relying on a web browser also increases the probability of cyberattacks. As a result, Chrome OS was built on the Linux kernel, which is known for its security features.

Chromebook users don’t need to think about updating the operating system, as all downloads are done automatically in the background.

Each application is separated from the others through sandboxing. If a cybercriminal manages to infiltrate one part of the system, they can’t access the rest of the data.

The Chrome Web Store and Google Play Store are the main sources of apps for Chromebook users. The available software is regularly scanned and checked for malware, which helps users avoid malicious apps.

The verified boot feature ensures the operating system is running smoothly. If malware is detected during the boot, the operating system returns to the last backup.

Finally, Chromebooks can work offline. Most web-based apps are downloadable, and users don’t need to be connected to the internet 24/7 to edit files in Google Docs.

All these features are in place to create a safe environment for those who like to browse the web and aren’t too demanding of hardware specifications.

Do you need a VPN on a Chromebook?

Chromebooks have exceptional security features, thus these laptops are sometimes classified as safer than Windows or other devices.

However, mistakes always happen. A user could accidentally download Chrome extensions that contain malicious code or visit a compromised website.

Malware isn’t the only cybersecurity issue one could encounter while browsing on a Chromebook.

Hackers are also interested in personal information and target users through social engineering and phishing attacks.

Having an extra layer of protection is recommended to everyone. This is why a VPN for Chromebook could be precisely what you need:

Protecting your personal information

A VPN hides your IP address so that your online activity can’t be tracked. You will see fewer targeted ads while browsing because it will be harder for advertisers to collect information on you.

The encryption secures your online communications, so neither your internet service provider (or ISP) will monitor your activity. Overall, a VPN is a great choice for those who prioritize privacy.

Escaping bandwidth throttling

Speaking of ISPs, some slow down the internet speed when using specific websites or services.

Others could engage in traffic shaping and restrict content like video streaming, which is bad news for Chromebook users who like to watch videos on their laptops.

You could bypass these limitations by encrypting your traffic with a VPN and continue browsing without worries.

Safer connection to public Wi-Fi

Chromebooks are lightweight and compact, so chances are you will use this device on the go.

This means that you will have to rely on public Wi-Fi networks while out of the house. Public Wi-Fi isn’t the safest choice, but it’s often necessary.

Cybercriminals use public networks to intercept personal and financial information, and a VPN can prevent that by encrypting your traffic.

Some snoopers might even create fake hotspots in busy areas to collect information.

You have to protect your login credentials and other data when connected to an unknown Wi-Fi network, and a VPN is an app that helps you maintain the highest level of online privacy.

Accessing geo-blocked content

While this isn’t a security feature, it’s good to know that the whole world is within your reach.

Connecting to a VPN server located in another region provides access to more content you normally wouldn’t see in your country due to geo-blocking.

Many streaming services don’t offer the same movies and shows globally because of copyright laws and licensing. Users can bypass the restrictions by connecting to a VPN server of their choice.

The encryption hides your real IP address and displays the server’s IP to the streaming services. As a result, you’ll get access to more entertaining content to enjoy.

Final thoughts

Chromebooks are very convenient and safe laptops for any online-focused user. Nevertheless, they are not entirely prone to all threats lurking online.

Installing a VPN on your Chromebook could ensure an extra layer of privacy and a better browsing experience.

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