Best antivirus for Chromebook in 2021
Simple to use and very affordable, Chromebooks are a preferred computer choice for many, especially schools and universities. They can appear more secure than traditional Windows machines, too – as most of their viruses can’t affect Chromebooks.
However, a different computer alone isn’t enough to keep you safe. Your Chromebook can still get malware and be tracked by malicious third parties.
If you want to browse online with complete peace of mind, you’ll need to protect yourself using Chromebook antivirus software.
Not all antivirus software works on this type of computer: but the ones we’ve carefully selected in this article do. So, we’ve put together a list of the best antiviruses for Chromebook OS – so you know what to choose to keep yourself safe.
Best Chromebook antiviruses:
- Bitdefender - Best antivirus for Chromebook
- Norton360 - Most feature-rich antivirus for Chromebook
- TotalAV - Great antivirus all-rounder
- Kaspersky - Best Chromebook antivirus for protection
- Avira - Great antivirus with a free plan
Why do Chromebooks need antivirus software?
Google Chromebooks have a reputation of being secure because the Chrome operating system is designed in such a way that each app is run within its own container. This prevents programs from being able to make any changes to the rest of your system. Also, Chromebooks can’t run .exe files, which keeps them safe from many malware infections.
But that’s only one type of virus – and Chromebooks can still be infected with trackers, spyware, and other malicious code while you’re surfing the internet or even downloading apps from the Google Play Store. An infection like this can slow down your device or compromise your sensitive data.
A good antivirus program will offer much better security for your Chromebook by protecting it from online threats. So it’s a good idea to sign up for an antivirus provider. In our next section, we’ll help you pick one that works brilliantly on Chrome OS.
Best antiviruses for Chromebook - our detailed list:
While there are lots of great antivirus programs out there, not all of them work on Chrome OS. Here, we’ve pulled together a list of our favorites that work well on Chromebooks:
1. Bitdefender - Best antivirus for Chromebook
|Customer support||Email, phone, live chat|
|Current deal||Get Bitdefender, now 60% OFF!|
Bitdefender is one of the most popular and well-known antivirus brands on the market, with a great reputation for consistently delivering top-notch protection from malware and other threats. It can also remove existing malware quickly and easily.
The software comes stacked with useful features, including security recommendations, an email breach checker, web protection, an app lock, and anti-theft protection. You’ll even get a VPN thrown in on all its paid plans, although it’s worth noting that this has a daily limit of 200MB.
What makes it stand out even more is that the Bitdefender app works just as well on your Chromebook or Android device as it does on Windows, macOS, or iOS. It’s straightforward to use too, which makes it an ideal choice for people used to Chrome’s clean, simple interface. And if you do get stuck, 24/7 customer support on live chat and phone is available on all pricing plans.
Speaking of which, Bitdefender is competitively priced, with its Antivirus Plus costing $29.99 for the first year and then $59.99 a year after that.
If you want to find out more, check out our Bitdefender antivirus review.
- Works brilliantly on Chromebook
- First-class malware detection
- Decent free version
- VPN included on paid plans
- Impressive number of additional features
- Customer support for all users
- You get a lot for your money
- Wonderfully easy to use
- Some plans are a bit pricey
- VPN daily limit is pretty restrictive
2. Norton360 - Most feature-rich antivirus for Chromebook
|Customer support:||24/7 live chat and phone|
|Current deal:||Get Norton, save up to 53%!|
Norton is synonymous with the world of antivirus software – and for a good reason. A glowing reputation and over 30 years of experience are not going to waste, as Norton360 is one of the best all-around antivirus options available. With a wide array of security features, you can protect your entire online life with just one simple product.
Norton360 comes with dark web monitoring, parental controls, and a secure password manager. You’ll even get access to Norton’s VPN service. But what puts Norton360 ahead of a lot of its competitors is one-of-a-kind features, such as LifeLock. It helps you manage your personal accounts, keeps you safe from social security, credit frauds, and alerts you to any potential threats and scams.
While Norton doesn’t officially say it supports Chrome OS, its Android app is perfectly tailored for a Chromebook. And if you need any help, Norton boasts a range of customer service channels, including email, phone, and live chat support.
Considering all this, it’s no surprise that Norton360 is one of the more expensive antivirus solutions out there. Its Standard plan will set you back $39.99 for the first year and then $84.99 a year after that.
Want to know more? Check out our Norton360 antivirus review.
- Android app is great on Chrome
- LifeLock is remarkably useful
- Promises 100% protection against malware
- Parental controls are ideal for families
- Excellent customer service
- Easy to use
- Really expensive
- No free version
3. TotalAV - Affordable all-rounder antivirus
|Customer support:||Guides, FAQs, phone, online forms, live chat|
|Current deal:||Get TotalAV, now 80% OFF!|
TotalAV is an excellent all-rounder antivirus option for a Chromebook. It might not have a large variety of features like some other options on the list – but TotalAV still provides excellent protection against all kinds of threats for a fraction of the price. This is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a high-performance low-budget solution.
The package includes a web filter, a system optimizer, an app lock, an email breach checker, and a duplicate photo finder. You’ll also get real-time protection to keep you safe from malware at all times.
Chromebook users will be particularly pleased to note that it has a great Android app that is easy to use on Chrome OS. This app comes with a Wi-Fi checker, a data breach checker, and a VPN. And if you need any help, TotalAV offers email and live chat customer support.
For all you’re getting, TotalAV is reasonably priced, with its Pro plan starting at just $19.00 for the first year.
To find out everything you need to know about TotalAV, read our TotalAV antivirus review.
- Excellent value for money
- Android app works flawlessly on Chrome OS
- Decent features
- Quick customer service responses
- Great protection
- Basic free version available
- Not as many features as competitors
- Protects a maximum of six devices
4. Kaspersky - Best Chromebook antivirus for protection
|Customer support:||Phone, email, chat|
|Current deal:||Get Kaspersky, save up to 50%!|
Once one of the most reputable antivirus providers on the planet, Kaspersky has taken a hit in recent years. The antivirus brand was involved in a security scandal in 2017, which has dented its previously unblemished reputation and significantly lowered customers’ trust.
However, it’s worth noting that there was no solid evidence that Kaspersky was at fault, and the company has done everything it can to rebuild its reputation – and its excellent security tools is a great place to start.
If you’re looking for the best overall protection, Kaspersky is a great choice. In lab tests, it captured 100% of widespread malware and 100% of zero-day malware, with fewer errors than Norton. Kaspersky also keeps its database regularly updated with all the latest threats and viruses. Despite this, it still has little impact on memory and system performance, keeping your Chromebook running smoothly.
Importantly, Kaspersky’s app runs on both Chromebook and Android devices, so it will deliver excellent protection and a user-friendly interface on your Chrome OS. And if you come up against any issues, you’ll get access to live chat, email, and phone customer support.
Kaspersky is fairly priced, with its Essential plan starting at $29.99 for the first year and $59.99 a year after that.
Read more in our in-depth Kaspersky antivirus review.
- Excellent infrastructure
- Android app performs well on Chromebooks
- 100% protection in lab tests
- Intuitive and straightforward to use
- Range of customer support options
- 2017 scandal makes it harder to trust
- Not many additional features on the higher pricing plans
5. Avira - Great antivirus with a free plan
|Customer support:||24/7 live chat and community support|
|Current deal:||Get Avira, now 40% OFF!|
If you want free antivirus for Chromebook, Avira might be the ideal solution for you. Although its paid plans come with a lot more features, its free plan still offers pretty good antivirus protection with solid defenses against ransomware and other forms of malware.
It has a fairly impressive suite of security features, including a system optimizer, an email breach scanner, theft prevention, an app lock, a network scanner, microphone and camera protection, and web protection. Paying customers also get access to Avira’s password manager and its VPN, although it’s worth noting that the VPN comes with a limit of 100MB a day.
Elsewhere, Avira’s Android app supports Chrome OS, so you’ll have no problems getting it to work. Paid customers also gain access to a dedicated customer service team – while all others will have to make do with the FAQs on the website and its online community.
Are you interested in all the additional premium features? You can get them: with a Pro plan starting at $44.99 a year.
For more information, read our Avira antivirus review.
- Genuinely good free version
- Android app supports Chromebooks
- Excellent lab test results
- Robust ransomware protection
- Nice user interface
- Not great customer support response times
- The paid plans aren’t particularly cheap
How we tested and selected these antiviruses
We tested all the most popular antivirus providers – as well as some less popular sleeper options, and picked the ones offering the best combination of price and quality.
All of the providers here have been tested on a Chromebook, making sure that they work properly on these devices.
Here’s a more detailed list of everything we looked for when choosing the best antivirus for Chromebook:
- If it has an Android app optimized for Chrome OS: If you’re a Chromebook user, you’ll need an antivirus solution that will work well on your device. Therefore, we only included providers that have Android apps which work well on Chrome OS and offer a good user experience.
- Malware removal: For any antivirus solution, it’s essential to choose one that can detect and remove malware and other viruses. To find this out, we examined lab results and did our own tests, only selecting software that offered consistent protection.
- Additional features: Customers rightly expect a lot more for their money than just malware protection. Hence, we’ve chosen solutions that come with additional features, such as VPNs, password managers, and parental controls.
- Customer support: If anything goes wrong with your antivirus protection, you’ll want to be able to reach out for help. Each of the antivirus programs on our list provides a range of customer support options.
- Price: Whenever you’re considering a lengthy subscription, price is important. That’s why we included a range of options at different price points to suit your needs and budget.
How to choose the best Chromebook antivirus
If you’re looking for antivirus software for your Chromebook, you should first check how old your device is and whether it’s able to download Google’s security updates. If it’s so old that it’s no longer supported by Google, you’ll need the absolute best protection money can buy. This might mean paying a bit more for a premium service, such as Norton360 or Kaspersky.
On the other hand, if your Chromebook is still relatively new and able to download Google’s security updates, you can afford to shop around for a good deal – and maybe look for some additional features, extra devices you can use the antivirus on, and more.
Whatever your situation though, you’ll need to choose an antivirus program that has a good Android app optimized for Chromebooks. This will make it much easier to use.
If you’re struggling to decide which antivirus to choose for your Chromebook, do your research. There are loads of excellent reviews out there written by antivirus experts who have tested the products for themselves. You can find our list of recommendations earlier in this guide. And if you need any more help, let us know in the comments section.
How do I install antivirus on my Chrome OS?
Even though Chromebooks are supposed to be secure, you can (and should) download antivirus software. The easiest way to install antivirus software is by downloading it from the Google Play Store.
Here’s how to install antivirus on Chrome OS:
- Choose an antivirus with an Android app.
- Go to the Google Play Store and download the app.
- Install the software onto your Chromebook.
- Open the app and finish the installation process.
- Log in or set up an account.
- Start using your antivirus software to keep your machine safe.
Installing an antivirus on your Chromebook from Google Play
If you’ve got a Chromebook, the easiest way to install antivirus software is by downloading it from the Google Play Store.
Here’s what you need to do to install Chromebook antivirus from Google Play:
- Open the Google Play Store.
- Search for your preferred antivirus app.
- Install the software.
- Open the app.
- Log in or create an account.
- Enjoy using your Chromebook without worrying about viruses.
Sideloading the app on Chromebook using Linux mode
If you use Linux on your Chromebook, you might want to sideload the app.
Here’s how to sideload the app on Chromebook using Linux mode:
- Go to your Settings and select Linux (Beta) and then Develop Android Apps.
- Enable ADB debugging.
- Restart your Chromebook.
- Confirm that you want to enable ADB debugging.
- Download the APK you want to install.
- Go to Files, choose My Files and then Linux files, and place your downloaded APK there.
- Open the terminal and type in sudo apt install adb and press Enter.
- Type in adb connect arc and hit Enter, then confirm that you want to use USB debugging.
- If your Chromebook has an ARM processor, use this command: adb install [name of your apk].apk. If your Chromebook uses an Intel or AMD processor, use this command: adb -s emulator-5554 install [name of your apk].apk.
- Find the installed app in your app launcher, and open it.
- Log in or create an account.
- Start using your antivirus software to scan for viruses.
Does Chromebook have built-in antivirus?
Yes, Chromebooks have some antivirus protection built into them, in much the same way that Android, iOS, and Windows have in-built security features. However, this level of protection won’t make your Chromebook immune to malware and other online threats.
The security for Google Chromebooks includes not being able to run .exe files, which is how a lot of malware is able to infect devices. Also, the Chrome operating system ensures that each app is run within its own container, which stops programs from making changes to the rest of your system.
However, while this can minimize some attacks, this level of protection isn’t enough to keep your Chromebook safe from malicious code, data breaches, and spyware. These can get on your device via untrustworthy websites, opening emails from suspicious sources, or even downloading apps from the Google Play Store.
Using antivirus software is a sensible idea for Chromebook users, just as you would for any other device. Good antivirus software will let you scan your device for malware and give you a security assessment, making it harder for hackers to crack your network. Better still, most antiviruses also come with plenty of additional features to improve your online security.
What is the best free antivirus for Chromebook?
We tested out all the best-known free antivirus programs on the market, as well as some less famous challenger brands. Overall, Bitdefender is the best free antivirus software for Chromebook. It performed exceptionally well for a free product, delivering excellent protection against malware.
Beyond this, Bitdefender also comes with a whole raft of top-notch security features, including real-time data protection, advanced threat defense, web attack prevention, and Bitdefender Photon, which adapts to the configuration of your system to improve speed and performance. It also offers anti-phishing and anti-fraud scanning. Most importantly of all, it supports Android and works flawlessly on Chromebooks, delivering a smooth, user-friendly experience.
And if you did want to upgrade to Bitdefender’s paid version, you can also get access to its parental controls, password manager, and VPN, which has a daily limit of 200MB. Bitdefender is a strong and relatively cheap antivirus solution, which you can even try for free.
If Bitdefender isn’t to your liking, we’d recommend trying Avira’s free plan, which has performed consistently in lab tests to offer extremely robust protection against malware. It has a strong integrated user interface on Android, which makes it a fantastic choice for Chrome users. You even get access to Avira’s password manager and limited VPN, which is pretty impressive for a free antivirus program.
Chromebooks are considered to be very secure devices, and they do have some built-in protection. However, this won’t be enough to protect you from all viruses. And as Chromebooks are growing in popularity, cybercriminals are finding more ways to infiltrate Google’s security measures to infect Chromebooks.
Therefore, we recommend downloading a strong antivirus program to protect your device from all online threats. When you’re shopping around, you should make sure your chosen antivirus software is compatible with Chrome OS. Android apps will normally work fairly successfully on Chromebooks, but it’s worth checking whether your choice is optimized for Chrome.
Aside from that, you’ll need to choose software that delivers flawless malware detection and protection to ensure your device is safe at all times. We’ve selected what we believe are the best antivirus solutions for Chromebooks earlier in this guide to help you decide which one to choose.
We hope this guide has told you everything you need to know about the best antivirus for Chromebooks. If not, let us know in the comments section below!
Do Chromebooks need antivirus protection?
Yes, Google Chromebooks need antivirus protection. While they come with some in-built antivirus features, the protection provided isn’t foolproof. You can download a malicious app from the Google Play Store or fall victim to an online scam or phishing site. And as Chromebooks become more popular, there will only be more risk from malware. So, you’ll need to download a good antivirus program to protect your device from all online threats.
Are Chromebooks safe for online banking?
Chromebooks aren’t very safe for online banking, as they’re closely integrated with the Chrome browser. This makes it only as safe as any other browser you might use, which means it’s not particularly secure. While Chrome gets regular security updates and is generally pretty safe, it’s a popular target for hackers. So you should definitely consider using antivirus software to protect your device and data from cybercriminals.
Can Chromebooks get hacked?
Chromebooks are vulnerable in certain areas, particularly the browser, so they can get hacked. Luckily, most antivirus software currently focuses on browser and internet security, so it’s a great tool to add to your device to increase your online protection.