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How to configure your Chromebook for ultimate security

Derek Walter | June 9, 2016
Chrome OS is already tops at security, but with a few extra tweaks you can ensure the gates are even more secure.

A Chromebook is already an ultra-secure computer straight out of the box. Since it doesn’t run a traditional operating system and takes advantage of various Google-powered security measures, Chrome OS is well-guarded against all the miscreants lurking out there on the Web.

But you can always do more, particularly if you want to minimize traces of your Internet wanderings, or prevent your every online action from contributing to an advertising profile.

You may share a Chromebook with others or desire a setup that’s impervious to the latest security threats. Perhaps it’s time for a little de-Googling in your life, as the Mountain View giant can collect a lot of information about you.

Whatever your reasons, here are some ways to fortify your Chromebook’s security structure.

Chrome’s default security

Chrome OS is essentially the Chrome browser, which already benefits from Google’s ongoing security efforts to identify malicious websites and sandbox each browser tab so one site can’t take down your whole computer. Furthermore, you can sign out of your Google account and wipe the entire Chromebook with ease, so you don’t have to be concerned about files lingering around after you’ve sold or gifted your device to someone else.

chromewarning
Chrome will throw up a warning sign if it detects something’s awry with a website’s security.

Leave no trace

You’ve probably had the experience of checking out, say, a new tent on Amazon, and then suddenly ads for that sleeping shelter appearing on every site you visit.

You can stop the madness. One place to start is Privacy Badger, an extension from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The extension blocks trackers, though you’re able to accept some cookies or whitelist specific sites.

chrome cookies
Chrome will give you the goods on cookies and other permissions requested by each site you visit.

Another helpful extension from the EFF privacy advocates is HTTPS Everywhere. Once you install this to Chrome, the browser will force a secure connection to all the sites you visit on the Web. Even though Google and others have made a huge push to make HTTPS the default connection, nonsecure sites are still out there. 

You may experience some weirdness with certain websites since the extension is trying to force an encrypted connection on sites that aren’t coded for this by default. In such circumstances, a workaround is to temporarily disable the extension for a particular site.

Chrome can assist here. When you click the paper icon in Chrome’s address bar, you’ll get details about the number of cookies the site is planting in your browser. It’s an insightful metric when visiting various websites.

 

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