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3 ways to make your Chromebook more secure

Let's be careful out there.

With their multiple layers of protection, Chromebooks do an admirable job out of the box of keeping your files and personal information safe. And they'll soon be even more secure when Chrome OS adds USBGuard to block access to the USB port access while the device's screen is locked. A USB thumb drive can be used in what is called a Rubber Ducky attack to steal data or infect it with malware when you turn your back or otherwise leave your device unattended for a minute or two. In addition to its built-in security features, there are a few ways to protect your Chromebook.

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Guest mode

If you share your Chromebook with friends and acquaintances, then you need to get acquainted with Guest mode. It lets someone use your Chromebook without being able to touch your Google account. Not only does it keep them from accessing your data and files, but it also prevents them from messing up your settings. A guest's browsing history, cookies, bookmarks and downloads will be trashed after they are done using your Chromebook and you exit Guest mode and log back into your account.

Guest mode should be enabled by default, but to make sure it is, you can go to Settings and in the People section, click Manage other people and check to see that Enable Guest browsing is toggled on. 

To launch Guest mode, log out of your account (the quickest way is to hit Ctrl-Shift-Q twice) and then click Browse as Guest at the bottom of the screen.

Sleep locking

Close the lid on your Chromebook and it goes to sleep. Open it back up, and your Chromebook springs awake. It's certainly easy this way, but if you are worried about others accessing your sleeping Chromebook when you are away (or slumbering yourself), you can set it to lock when it sleeps and require a password when it awakes.

Go to Settings and click Screen lock and sign-in in the People section. Next, enter your password and toggle on Show lock screen when waking from sleep. If you have a long, complicated password that you'd rather not need to enter each time you wake up your Chromebook, select PIN or password and then click the Set up PIN button and choose a six-digit (or more) PIN that you can use instead of your password to unlock your Chromebook.

HTTPS Everywhere for everyone

Created by Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tor Project, this Chrome extension will use the HTTPS version of a site when available. Many sites default to unencrypted HTTP, and HTTPS Everywhere will request the HTTPS version. If using the extension breaks a site you are trying to access, then you can click its button to disable it. And for the super-security-conscious, you can check a box to block all unencrypted sites.

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