If you are a user of Google Chromebook, you would have been told already that your device is considered quite secure when compared to any other similar computing device.
But as experts will warn you there is no such thing as a 100% secure system or network. Even the strongest systems have been broken into and conquered by hackers.
The other interesting factor experts refer to is the urge to protect yourself from Google, the company that owns the hardware and software in any Chromebook. At least in terms of the technology, the company’s hands are visible all over.
They also tend to log what users do on their devices—a way of supplying you all relevant information on things you browsed and to warn you if any of your activities were to put you under any security threat.
But many users think otherwise and don’t want Google to be snooping around.
Here are a few steps you can adopt to make your Chromebook more secure:
Use Your Chromebook in Guest Mode
In the normal course, you would log into your Google account when you start working with your Chromebook. That would mean your activities are all logged by Google. To avoid this, you can select the option to work in the Guest Mode.
The advantage with this mode is that while it lets you use the available resources, such as browsers, to check mail or to search something, you will need your Google account login if you wish to install any new app on your Chromebook. You can download other files or documents from any site in the course of your browsing.
There are two ways you can use this Guest Mode:
- One is to choose “Browse as a Guest” from the main screen as you open the Chromebook.
- The other, if you have already logged in to your Google account, is to click Ctl+Shift+Q. This will give you a menu with options under “Users.” Tick the box against the first one, Enable Guest browsing. You are good to go.
Use Alternate Search Engines
The other way to protect the pages you visit online from being bombarded with ads following the searches you made on Google would be to use other search engines which don’t keep track of your activities.
On several occasions, these ads that Google pushes on to you hoping to assist you have been found to be the harbingers of trouble with some of them leading you to pages with malicious content. If you wish to know the search engines in this no-log-keeping category, you can find out from the appropriate sources.
Two quick suggestions here: DuckDuckGo and Startpage. While both are popular search engines, the latter could suit those who love Google since it just takes your question to Google and fetches the search results, without letting Google know who wants the results.
Best of both worlds, you would say. If you are convinced that any of these search engines are better than Google and serve your purpose, you can set one of them as the default search engine.
Install a VPN
This is a practice many computer users have begun to employ. The advantage of a VPN is that it obscures your IP address and even your ISP (internet service provider) cannot find out your precise location when you are connected. The same holds good for any page you visit on the internet.
The most important aspect of VPN is that it encrypts your data, with the result that even in the event of a hack, the intruder cannot access it.
VPN service providers are available in large numbers. Many offer free services as well. But you are better off with a paid subscription. For a few dollars per month, you can buy peace of mind and security of your device. Check if there is a VPN available within the Android ecosystem on your Chromebook. You will remain safe that way.
Modify the Settings of the DNS Servers
DNS servers have, again, been culprits in allowing hackers to perpetrate their attacks. If you are not sure how to change the DNS settings, follow these steps:
- Go to Settings and choose Internet Connection.
- Chose the network you are using.
- Click once more to get a menu that drops down.
- Choose the “Network” tab.
- You will find the “Configure automatically” on with the details of the IP address.
- The next one will have Automatic name servers ticked. Leave it as it is.
If you have more than one Wi-Fi connection that you use, at home and the workplace where your Chromebook is the device, then this process will have to be repeated from the network identification (step #2 above) onwards
There are at least three distinct benefits you will get by this change; the Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) will help stop apps from allowing malicious data to creep in; you will have better protection from any possible phishing attacks and thirdly, in a typical family environment, you can activate better parental controls so that your children won’t be able to operate your Chromebook without your knowledge/permission.
Third-Party Apps Can be Helpful Too
Experts advise that your Chromebook could gain an additional layer of security by downloading certain third-party apps.
HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger are two helpful security apps.
The first one, HTTPS Everywhere, does the job of converting even sites that don’t have the “S” suffix to denote they are secure into HTTPS sites. Privacy Badger works like your ad-block by preventing ads that have the spying feature loaded in them.
There is no way you can ignore data privacy and device security, no matter which device you are using or which operating system it runs on. In the case of Chromebook, the attempt here has been to make your device even more secure than it already is.