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Best antivirus for Chromebook in 2024

Best antivirus for Chromebook

Chromebooks are becoming a more popular choice of device, particularly for their convenient use and built-in protective features. Chrome OS is designed with multiple layers of security, including automatic updates and sandboxed applications. Therefore, misconceptions that Chromebooks don’t need an antivirus continue to circle around. However, the operating system isn’t exempt from catching malware.

Sure, it is one of the safest operating systems out there, primarily since it’s based on the Linux kernel. There’s no arguing that. But malware like scam Android apps or data-harvesting phishing attempts can still wreak havoc on the device. Fortunately, capable antivirus software for Chromebooks fills in the security cracks through firewalls, real-time malware detection, and other measures.

Moreover, a solid Chromebook antivirus typically offers extra features that enrich and optimize your online experience. Those include parental control, password managers, VPN, anti-theft, and other protective tools. Some users precisely get antivirus software for the benefit of additional tools on top of the security.

We tested the big players in the antivirus industry to determine which ones stick true to their promises. We singled out 7 candidates, but only 3 earned the best antivirus for Chromebook title. The criteria of real-time protection, malware detection, device-based attack prevention, impact on CPU, extra features, and pricing guided our assessment processes. We’ll share our impressions and opinions on each provider’s strengths and weaknesses.

Best antivirus for Chromebook: shortlist

  1. Best antivirus for Chromebook of all time
    9.7
  2. Five-star virus protection for Chromebook
    9.3
  3. Dependable & lightweight Chromebook antivirus
    9.1
  4. Chromebook antivirus with high level of protection
    8.8
  5. Beginner-friendly & private antivirus for Chrome OS
    8.5
  6. Decent antivirus protection for Chromebook
    8.2
  7. Functional plug-and-play Chrome OS antivirus
    8.0

Why do Chromebooks need an antivirus?

Chromebooks are praised for built-in security measures that fend off malware infections and infiltration attempts. ChromeOS, the operating system powering Chromebooks, deploys various protective tools: user permission limitations, proprietary file formats, sandboxing, and verified boot protocols. In addition, it isolates each app within its own container, ensuring that no program can modify the system. As such, Chromebooks are unable to run .exe files.

Nevertheless, Chromebooks aren’t impervious to online threats, even with commendable security already in place. In fact, the infrastructure behind its protective system is only effective against viruses. Cybercriminals can still exploit various vulnerabilities. For one, you’re not safe from scammy Android applications, phishing attempts, counterfeit Chrome extensions, public Wi-Fi hotspots, online tracking, etc.

Here are major cyber threats that users can still suffer from in the absence of a Chromebook antivirus protection:

  • Browser hijackers. Deceptive browser extensions that steal user data and redirect search engines (like Google or Bing) to faulty websites.
  • Phishing attempts. Methods of tricking users into divulging their information, financial details, and login credentials through fake emails, websites, or text messages.
  • Spyware apps. Applications that request an excessive amount of device permissions so that user data can be monitored and sent to nefarious hackers.
  • Fleeceware. False apps with misleading language and marketing tactics for grossly overcharging users, mainly targeting children.
  • Ransomware. Malicious software that encrypts sensitive information and demands ransom for its release.
  • Spoofing. Attacks that employ counterfeit network protocols to steal data typically occur when people connect to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Malvertising. Malicious advertising campaigns that spread malware by tricking users into clicking on infected ads.

Notably, a reliable antivirus for Chromebook bolsters your security tenfold by complementing the gaps left by the operating system. The software maintains constant vigilance through real-time protection. App scanners and anti-phishing measures as browser extensions expand antivirus protection even further. Meanwhile, extra features like parental controls, VPNs (Virtual Private Network), ransomware protection, and suspicious activity monitoring help create a safer online space.

Best antivirus software for Chromebook: overview

  1. TotalAV – the most lightweight and reliable Chromebook antivirus of all time
  2. Norton – feature-rich Chromebook antivirus with 100% protection rate
  3. Bitdefender – well-rounded antivirus for Chromebook for preserving device CPU

Out of our 7 picks, the Top 3 Chromebook antivirus providers demonstrated the most prowess in dealing with cyber threats. They ticked all the checkboxes of our criteria during testing. We focused on performance impact, malware protection, Android app setup & ease of use, additional features, false positives, and affordability. Thus, we present the very best.

1. TotalAV – best antivirus for Chromebook with excellent protection

Support
Support:
24/7 live chat
Minimal price
Minimal price:
$29.00/year
  • WebShield for safer online browsing
  • Beginner-friendly setup
  • Near-perfect malware detection
  • No firewall

TotalAV is the best antivirus for Chromebook, wrapping robust security in an easy-to-navigate interface. We were pleased with how great the Android app works on Chrome OS, imposing a minimal load on the CPU. So, your device will run smoothly even with TotalAV in the background. On top of that, the whole installation process took us only about 5 minutes, and we were greeted with a clean and linear app.

During our TotalAV analysis, it performed splendidly security-wise. Independent labs deduce the success rate at detecting and blocking malware is 98%. Our tests match up as the antivirus detected all of the malware threats online and offline, and found 9 out of 10 of our hidden infected files. As expected, the Android app alerted us about unsafe browser extensions, WebShield for detecting suspicious activity online, Wi-Fi networks, and potentially data-mining apps.

Another strong forte of the TotalAV Android app is the feature-rich suite. You’ll benefit from real-time protection and comprehensive app scans. But the software shines through with hefty extras: a Device Tune-Up tool to declutter unnecessary files, a streaming-friendly Safe Browsing VPN, a Wi-Fi checker for safe connections, and plenty more depending on the TotalAV plan.

To unlock comprehensive protection and valuable extras, we recommend considering one of its premium plans, starting at just $29.00/year for the TotalAV Antivirus Pro tier. If you’re curious to explore the premium service, you can do so risk-free with a 7-day free trial & trusted 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Norton – Rock-solid & feature-rich Chromebook antivirus

Support
Support:
24/7 live chat
Minimal price
Minimal price:
$19.99/year
  • Lightweight Android app for Chrome OS
  • All-encompassing online & offline protection
  • Parental control for families
  • No free version

Norton is an excellent antivirus software for Chromebook, boasting comprehensive protection and a feature-packed Android app. A majority of Norton’s Mobile Security features worked great on Chromebook, and the installation didn’t take longer than 7 minutes. Though the interface is rather minimalistic, we found it easy to use, straightforward, and relatively lightweight.

This Chromebook antivirus has the best malware protection rate. During the Norton AV review process, it managed to block 100% online and device-based threats like Exploit. We tested all 4 malware scans available and found that all infected files were found, even our hidden ones. Malicious websites were blocked, and we were alerted about suspicious applications, emails, etc. Overall, we can only cement the positive feedback Norton receives from users and independent labs.

Depending on your chosen plan, the Norton Android app includes LifeLock against credit fraud and identity theft. Notably, Norton’s Report Card and Privacy Report features offer valuable insights, delivering clear and actionable information with solutions about potential privacy risks posed by apps on your device. You also get additional protective features such as Safe Search to ward off online threats, Wi-Fi security for scanning your connections, real-time malware protection, and web protection for warning against dangerous websites.

You can bolster your security without further ado. Just snag Norton 360 at the starting price of $19.99/year and enjoy a worry-free experience on all things Chromebook. If you wish to test the waters of the premium service first, take advantage of the 30-day free trial and verified 60-day money-back guarantee.

3. Bitdefender – good Chromebook antivirus with reliable malware removal

Support
Support:
email, knowledge base
Minimal price
Minimal price:
$29.99/year
  • Lightweight on devices
  • Solid protection against malware
  • In-built VPN (200 MB/day)
  • Full VPN access costs extra

Bitdefender is a splendid antivirus for Chromebook because of the comprehensive security and the fastest VPNs among our picks. Anonymity enthusiasts will especially love the latter. As for your CPU, the devices we tested the antivirus on didn’t break a sweat even during the full-system scans and hours after operating in the background. Also, we set up the Android app in less than 5 minutes. The whole procedure was smooth and straight to the point.

You can navigate the waters of the web without worries if you have Bitdefender in tow. We can attest to the overall malware detection score of 98%, as determined by our Bitdefender review & independent labs. During our tests, Bitdefender dealt well with public web-based and device-based attacks, and found 8/10 of our hidden malware files. We found a Chrome extension lacking, so you’ll need different extensions for added online security.

As befits a good antivirus for Chromebook, Bitdefender offers an array of features depending on the chosen tier. Media connoisseurs can enjoy an unlimited and fast VPN for an extra charge. Reinforcing data security is a breeze with anti-theft tools and data breach scanning. Each feature performed seamlessly on a Chromebook. Also, kudos to the Web protection tool, which alerted us about malicious websites before opening them.

The top-shelf Chromebook antivirus unravels its full potential with any premium plan. The most basic one comes with a $29.99/year price tag. Surely, there’s a free Bitdefender version, but it’s only good for very basic security. See for yourself what the fuss is about with the 30-day free trial and 30-day money-back period.

4. Surfshark AV – superb Chromebook antivirus paired with top-notch VPN

Support
Support:
24/7 live chat
Minimal price
Minimal price:
$36.32/year
  • Excellent results with zero-day threats
  • Easy to navigate
  • Reliable real-time protection
  • No firewall

Surfshark is known for the first-rate VPN, but you can also rely on the protection delivered by the next-gen antivirus solution on Chromebook. The very first thing that hit the string was the provider’s beginner-friendly Android app. The setup was a breeze, taking us only 4 minutes to install Surfshark AV. Also, we never experienced a buffer even during full-scope scans. Above all, the sleek design makes navigation smooth and quick, which is perfect for all levels of tech-savvy.

If you’re looking for a Chromebook antivirus that wraps robust protection in a sleek and easy-to-use app, this AV is your champ. Our Surfshark AV inspection, along with results from third-party labs, concluded a 99% malware detection rate. Online threats appeared to be a stronger suite of the software since it has no firewall. Though it’s a downside, overall protection was satisfactory as it found 8 out of 10 hidden files with malware.

Regarding the feature suite, Surfshark antivirus covers you with all the fundamentals. You can enjoy real-time protection and the convenience of scheduling scans based on item preferences and timing with the device scanning tool. Another convenience addition to the package is the secure search engine. It allows you to browse online safely as it alerts you about possible risky and malicious domains and websites.

This fresh antivirus for Chromebook can be yours for $36.32/year along with first-rate VPN, Alternative ID, ad blocker, private search engine, and other hefty extras. If you want to check out the service first, you’re in luck. Surfshark offers a 7-day free trial for their users, along with the verified 30-day money-back guarantee.

Best antivirus for chromebook comparison

Antivirus providerTotalAVNortonBitdefenderSurfshark
Starting price$29.00/year$19.99/year$29.99/year$36.32/year
Money-back guarantee30 days60 days30 days30 days
Free version✅Yes❌No (but has a 30-day free trial)✅Yes❌No (but has a 7-day free trial)
Android app for Chrome OS✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes ✅Yes
Malware scanner✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes ✅Yes
Malware protection rate98%100%98%99%
Firewall❌No✅Yes✅Yes❌No
Number of devicesup to 610up to 55
Extra featuresSecure Password Vault, Disk cleaner,
Ad blocker, Safe Browsing VPN,
System tune up
Dark Web monitoring, Privacy Protection, WebShield extension
Real-time threat protection, Smart Firewall, Dark Web monitoring, Password manager, PC cloud backup, Privacy protection,SafeCam, Secure VPN, Parental control, AntiTrack, Norton Safe Web, System optimizationAdvanced Threat Defense, Ransomware remediation, AntiSpam, Profiles, Anti-tracker, File shredder, Privacy protection, Anti-webcam hijack, Password manager, Parental control, VPNCleanWeb,
Data breach monitoring,
Robust VPN, Private search engine, Real-time protection, Personal detail generator, Malware scans, Webcam protection

How we tested antivirus software for Chromebook

Testing is the only real way to see which are the best antivirus for Chromebook and which are lying through their teeth. So, we grabbed our Chromebooks, installed an Android antivirus, and began testing immediately. Here are the criteria that guided our evaluation process:

  • Independent lab rating. Our testing showed us all we needed to know, but we also considered the results from independent labs like AV-Test. They give regularly updated insight into top antivirus and their ratings.
  • Malware detection & removal. The essential aspect of any Chromebook antivirus is detecting and removing malware. We thoroughly tested malware scans on different occasions to see how well they deal with 7,500, 39,000, and over 260,000 (file size varied) files on Chromebook. Also, we’d hide 10 infected files & malicious software each time to see whether an antivirus detects it. Therefore, for the top 3, we picked those with no less than a 95% success rate against cyber threats.
  • False positives. No one likes getting alert prompts over wrongly classified apps, websites, and files. We ensured that our selected best antivirus for Chromebook have zero, or at the least, near zero, false positives for a seamless browsing experience. In the same vein, we frolicked with firewalls to see how they generally deal with threats, whether they alert in time, have whitelisting, and all.
  • Device-based protection. It’s typical to overlook device-oriented threats and overfocus on online protection. In our opinion, a capable security infrastructure covers all threat vectors and kinds of malware. For this reason, we tested antivirus against malicious code, Exploit, IoT, and other threats.
  • Additional features. No self-respecting company builds an antivirus with just malware as the competition grows fiercer over who offers more and better. Our top recommendations are feature-rich and house sought-after tools like VPN, ransomware protection, password manager, parental control, dark web monitoring, etc.
  • Impact on CPU & interface. Another aspect that was important to us is whether an antivirus is lightweight. We monitored RAM consumption during more demanding scans to ensure they didn’t drain the Android battery too much. Also, beginner-friendly and streamlined apps were essential, so antivirus had to fit the criterion, too.
  • Subscription cost. An antivirus, first and foremost, must be affordable, and the value must live up to the cost. Likewise, a user must have several tiers to choose from to fit their needs.

TotalAV emerged as the best antivirus for Chromebook because of the well-rounded protection, lightweight Android app, and first-rate extras that expand user experience tenfold. If you want a Chromebook antivirus that doesn’t demand any in-depth skill or knowledge but lets you spin the wheel, then TotalAV is your best guy. It’s simple, reliable, and of entry-level use, catering to every need of a user in the security world.

Bolster Chrome OS security with top-tier antivirus

TotalAV is the perfect shot for adding security against other malware that Chromebooks aren’t well-equipped against. The antivirus solution comes with feature-rich suite to optimize your online experience. Browse the web freely & securely with the best antivirus for Chromebook!

9.7 /10
Doesn't drain Android battery
Protects from ransomware
Offers hefty extra features

Why don’t we recommend Webroot?

Webroot isn’t a good Chromebook antivirus due to its limited protection against certain types of malware. In our testing, the malware protection was somewhat lacking. Also, anti-phishing and privacy monitoring tools didn’t meet our expectations either. While it’s a low-impact antivirus that doesn’t feed on your CPU, it doesn’t compensate for subpar protection compared to the top players in the industry.

Why don’t we recommend Kaspersky?

Though Kaspersky is a good antivirus solution, we hesitate to recommend it due to the company’s alleged relationship with Russia. Located in Moscow, Kaspersky faced backlash from the US back in 2017. Ever since, the government has prohibited using Kaspersky on government and military institutions. Hence, in the light of the current geopolitical situation, we won’t recommend Kaspersky antivirus for Chromebook.

How to install antivirus on Chromebook

  1. Download an Android-friendly Chromebook antivirus from Google Play Store. We recommend TotalAV for the best Android app & protection
  2. Install the antivirus app and launch it
  3. Finish up final setup steps
  4. Create an account or log into an existing one
    TotalAV installation guide
  5. Start your first scan and browse the waters of the web worry-free!

Get TotalAV for safer Chromebook experience

How to keep your Chromebook protected?

Just because Chrome OS has a reputation for being one of the most secure operating systems, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on your guard or that it’s enough. Here are tips for contributing to the safety of your device and data.

  1. Get antivirus protection for Chromebook. In the theme of our topic, we must start with the obvious – getting virus protection for Chromebook. It adds layers of protection, which is further bolstered by key features like malware scanner, regular security updates, Wi-Fi security, real-time threat protection, built-in VPN, phishing protection, etc.
  2. Don’t disable Developer Mode. Tempting as it may be at times, you should keep Developer Mode enabled at all times. That’s unless you’re a veteran tech user. Otherwise, you expose your Chromebook to hackers, who won’t shy away from infiltrating the device and messing around with in-built security measures.
  3. Upgrade to a newer Chromebook. All Chromebooks released prior to 2021 are unable to run the latest Chrome OS. This means that you have older protective measures on the device, which aren’t on par with the current ones. It’s always best to upgrade your Chromebook.
  4. Avoid apps for third-party places. Unauthorized apps guarantee no quality or security. It’s imperative to remember that a pirated free app, which seems to do what a premium one does, is likely to have some malware injected into it or harvest user data. Stay safe by shying away from such applications.
  5. Secure your Google account. Don’t get annoyed with Google prompts for securing your account. Add all the necessary information, and most importantly, enable 2FA (Two-Factor-Authentication). The feature hinders hackers from gaining access to your account in case the worst happens.

What is the best free antivirus for Chromebook?

In short, TotalAV is the best free antivirus for Chromebook. We tested several options, some less known and, of course, those from our selection, like Bitdefender and McAfee. However, it was TotalAV that delivered more than what’s expected of a basic free Chromebook antivirus.

The service dealt well with online malware threats, and the Android app worked smoothly, not impacting the performance any more than the premium counterpart. Also, we found Smart Scan a worthy tool that cleans up system files, like junk and duplicates. Of course, there are other viable free antivirus for Chromebook we can recommend:

  • Bitdefender. The free version has an in-depth scanner, which deals well with kinds of malware. In addition, the free version has a VPN and data leak scanner.
  • Avira. Robust malware protection comes with an Android app privacy scanner, anti-theft protection, a data breach scanner, a VPN, and a couple of other features.
  • Surfshark AV. Although it doesn’t have a base free antivirus, you can use the 7-day free trial and prolong it with the 30-day money-back guarantee. Better yet, you get all the premium features and high-class protection from all things malware.

Ultimately, a free version isn’t even functional on Chromebook since the OS already has advanced security measures. If you truly want to enhance the protection of your device, we advise opting for a premium antivirus software for Chromebook. They usually have free trials and money-back periods, during which you can enjoy the full-fledged service without commitment.

Bolster Chromebook security with TotalAV

Wrapping up

Chromebook has commendable security features installed in the Chrome OS, so often, people dismiss the benefits of an antivirus for such a device. However, that’s a faulty way of thinking since they can still fall victim to other kinds of malware apart from just viruses: fleeceware, ransomware, phishing, spyware, and more. If you want complete data and device protection, then you can rely on the best antivirus for Chromebook to patch up the security cracks left in Chrome OS.

TotalAV is the best Chromebook antivirus due to its versatility, all-encompassing protection, sturdy extras, and amazingly easy-to-use and low-impact Android app. It passed our tests with flying colors. Apart from device and privacy protection, the antivirus software optimizes your device, offers a streaming-friendly VPN, password manager, and helps navigate the online space safely. Above all, it is super easy to use, even if you’re new to the antivirus business.

What do you think is the best antivirus for Chromebook? Let us know by leaving a comment!

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You may also like to read:
TotalAV antivirus review
Norton antivirus review
Bitdefender antivirus review
Best antivirus for Windows 10


FAQ

Does Chromebook have built-in antivirus?

Yes, every Chromebook has built-in security protection. After all, it’s earned the reputation of being one of the most secure operating systems. However, it’s strong against viruses but may falter against different kinds of malware, like ransomware or spyware. Getting an antivirus is still a good idea.

Are Chromebooks safe for online banking?

Yes, Chrome OS is just as safe for online banking as Windows 11 or MacOS. That’s thanks to in-built Chromebook security features. On the other hand, adding extra protection where financial details are concerned is commendable. Thus, you can get a reliable Chromebook antivirus like TotalAV.

Do Chromebooks need antivirus protection?

Yes, Chromebooks do need antivirus software. It’s true that Chrome OS has implemented security features, but you can still catch a variety of malware if you download a third-party app, connect to public Wi-FI, or visit a shady website. TotalAV is the best antivirus for Chromebook, adding protection.

Can Chromebooks get hacked?

Yes, Chromebooks can get hacked. Secure as they may be, they’re not foolproof. For a hacker to gain access to your device, you simply have to visit a data-harvesting website, fall for a phishing attempt, download an unauthorized app, disable Developer Mode, or connect to an open Wi-Fi hotspot.

What’s the best antivirus for Chromebooks?

TotalAV is the best antivirus for Chromebook. TotalAV stands out from the rest of the top players as the first-rate choice that passed our tests with flying colors. Apart from near-perfect malware protection, you get a streaming-friendly VPN, password manager, data breach monitor, and other hefty extras.

Can you get viruses on a Chromebook?

No, you can’t get viruses on Chromebook unless you disable Developer Mode or security measures. However, Chrome OS is still vulnerable to malware like phishing attempts, browser hijackers, ransomware, spoofing, malvertising, and more. Adding an antivirus solution, like TotalAV, combats that malware.

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