Chromebook Virus and Malware Removal – Can a Chromebook get a virus?
Thank you for visiting the Chromebook virus and malware removal page. Very few things in life these days are as scary as getting a virus on your computer. Rest assured however, that it is nearly impossible for a Chromebook to be infected by an actual virus. Chrome OS is one of the most secure (if not THE most secure) operating systems on the market. This is due mostly to the fact that Chrome OS does not allow you to install ANY programs (hard to install a virus when you can’t install anything), but is also due in large part to the operating system’s Verified Boot solution. Google also releases official updates to Chrome OS every 6 weeks (and some unofficial ones in between) that bring new features, and security updates. For more information about Chromebook security, check this out.
Here’s a short video that shows you how to protect your Chromebook from Virus’.
Now that you’ve taken the necessary precautions, let’s talk about your “virus”. So at this point I think I’ve made it pretty clear that you don’t actually have a virus on your Chromebook, but even so, it is possible for your Chromebook to be affected by malware or malicious extensions, which sometimes feel like a virus.
I’ll briefly explain what a Malicious Extension looks like, and what Malware is, then I’ll tell you how to get rid of them.
There are many many useful extensions available in the Chrome Web Store. Unfortunately, some of them are just plain crappy. Sometimes it’s crappy right away, sometimes it breaks after an update. It might make your Chromebook operate really slowly, or cause random annoying bugs. It might affect the performance of other extensions. Sometimes the malicious extension doesn’t even originate from your Chromebook. Often times what happens is a user will download and install something on their Windows or Mac machine that quietly adds a malicious extension to your Chrome browser. Then the malicious extension syncs to their Chrome browser on their Chromebook.
The reason people often confuse this with a virus, is because the user will usually do a browser reset, or even a Powerwash in an attempt to rid themselves of the “virus” and the problem just keeps coming back. It keeps coming back because it was never removed from the Windows or Mac machine, and it keeps re-syncing the extension from the Windows/Mac machine to the Chromebook every time the Chromebook boots up and connects to the internet. It seems impossible to get rid of. Really, you are getting rid of it when you do the browser reset, it’s just that it keeps coming back once it syncs with your other computer[s].
Sometimes users visit a website that has malware. It locks the browser and usually tries to convince you that in order to continue using your computer, you need to pay money. THIS IS A SCAM. You should never have to pay money to continue using your Chromebook. DO NOT call the number, DO NOT pay the money. This scam is commonly referred to as a “Browser Hijack”.
I’ll tell you how to get rid of a Malicious Extension, and after that I’ll tell you how to get out of a Malware, or “browser hijack” situation. (To skip to the Browser Hijack solution, click here)
How to get rid of a Malicious Extension:
If your Chromebook has acquired a malicious extension, you’re going to want to do three things: Turn extension syncing off in your Chromebook settings; Reset your Chromebook; Fix the problem on your Windows and/or Mac machines. Once you’ve fixed the problem, you can go ahead and turn extension syncing back on if you’d like.
Note: Turning extension syncing off prevents the malicious extension from syncing to your Chromebook again.
Here are those 3 things broken down into a step by step walkthrough:
Hint: click and hold on the words in blue to view a screenshot
- Click on the system tray (bottom right, contains clock and profile picture), and click Settings
- Navigate to People
- Click on Advanced Sync Settings
- From the drop down, select Choose What To Sync
- Uncheck Extensions
- Click OK
- Find and click on Show Advanced Settings…
- Find and click on Reset Settings
- Click Reset. All of your extensions are now disabled.
At this point, your problem will most likely have disappeared because you’ve disabled ALL of your extensions on your Chromebook. All the good ones, as well as the one that’s been causing you troubles. Keep in mind the issue still exists on your Windows and/or Mac machine, but more on that later. You can re-enable your extensions one-by-one until the issue returns, which will tell you which extension was causing your issue. Then make sure to remove that extension from Chrome on ALL your devices before going back into settings and turning sync back on. If you’re having a hard time isolating the problem on your Windows machine, this tool might help.
If the problem didn’t go away after the reset, double check that you turned sync off. If you didn’t, do that and try again. If you did turn sync off, and the problem still exists you should contact a Chrome Agent for further assistance. Here’s how to contact a Chrome Agent:
- Press ctrl + ?
- Click on the blue “Questions? Contact Us (beta)” button in the bottom left of the window that pops up.
- Click on the blue “Speak to an Agent” button.
During the call, the agent will hear you but not be able to see you.
This one is even easier to fix than a malicious extension!
We’re going to do what’s called a Hard Reset:
- For a Chromebox, or Chromebase, simply remove and reinsert the power cable
- For the Samsung Series 5, and Samsung Series 5 550, insert a pin into the tiny hole on the bottom of the device to press the reset button.
- For the CR-48, or the Acer C700 remove, and reinsert the battery
- For all other Chromebook models, press the Refresh + Power buttons
Now this is important. When your device boots up, and you open Chrome, it’s going to ask if you want to restore Chrome. DO NOT DO THIS. Just click the little X to make that message go away. If you click restore, it’s going to re-open that naughty website that hijacked your browser, and you’re going to be stuck again and have to do another hard reset.
Zeus, ZeuS, or Zbot is a Trojan horse malware package that runs on versions of Microsoft Windows. While it can be used to carry out many malicious and criminal tasks, it is often used to steal banking information by man-in-the-browser keystroke logging and form grabbing.
The Zeus virus is a windows program and therefore cannot be installed on a Chromebook. You have nothing to fear from the Zeus Virus.
If you’re seeing something that claims to be a Zeus virus, it’s just some kind of malware or bad extension. Follow the instructions above on this page.
That’s it! You’re good to go =]