Back when I was a Chromebook Expert in Best Buy, I can’t tell you how many customers came to me and told me that their Chromebook had a virus. Now, I probably don’t need to tell you that Chromebooks don’t get viruses, but just as a reminder, ChromeOS isn’t affected by the same privacy and security issues that Windows is. This is for a few reasons.
First and foremost, it’s built on Linux. Google also employs several tactics like Sandboxing, Verified Boot and Automatic updates, as well as protections like Safe Browsing and Gmail spam elimination. All that aside, I’m pretty certain that the narrative around Chromebooks has changed a lot since I left stores, and generally, most people understand the benefits.
Regardless, I was using my Chromebook as a desktop today and going through the paces to enjoy it across two screens when I received a notification – scratch that – hundreds of notifications informing me that my McAfee virus protection had expired and that I had a Trojan horse virus among many other things on my Chromebook.
Obviously, this was completely false, but I smirked at myself because I knew exactly what was going on. You see, there are websites that upon visiting, dump themselves into your Chrome browser’s notifications system so they can send you a bunch of scare tactics like this.
They go a step further and act like a virus protection software that has already removed some of these threats, but it’s truly just a text pop up they employ through their web app. Why would they do this, you ask? To get unsuspecting victims to shell out cash and credit cards (or even gift cards) by pretending they’re going to solve all of your problems.
You may have received something like this in the past, and you may even say that you’ve never visited a site like the one that’s nagging you. However, you should know that they tie themselves to your Chromebook by way of the ‘site settings’ and automatically turn on notifications when they pop up or pop under as a spam ad while you’re browsing other websites.
That’s right, that can happen, and Google, for some reason, lets it I guess. So, though you’ve never visited said website, they can force themselves onto your device and start pinging you with notifications like the ones you see above, sometimes sending you into a frenzy. Today, I’m going to show you the very simple solution to removing these bad actors and cleaning up your notification tray. Don’t worry, you don’t actually have a virus, but I want to stress that you should make it a practice to never click on them! Anyway, let’s get started!
First, you’re going to want to open the Chrome browser on your laptop. Then, just head over to the top right three dots ‘more’ options menu and go down to ‘Settings. On the left-hand sidebar of the chrome://settings page, click ‘Privacy and security’. From there, you’ll see that the last option that comes up is called ‘Site settings’. Clicking that shows a list of all websites that have permissions to send you notifications, use your camera and microphone, can send you pop-ups, and more. If you’re familiar with Android apps on your phone, this works much in the same way, and Google provides this section to give you granular control over third party access to your data and hardware.
As you can see, the malicious website that was sending me all of those notifications is called ‘odesbest’. Simply by Googling the name, we see that it’s a ‘deceptive website that expliots browser push notifications to bombard users with intrusive spam advertisements. It is categorized as a potentially unwanted program (PUP) and browser hijacker.’ according to Malware Tips. Right they are!
Just click the trash can next to the offender since they’re trash, after all, and confirm their removal using the pop pup dialogue box you see in the image below. This will remove their permissions to send you fake virus notifications in your Chromebook’s notification tray. It’s worth noting that you can do this for any website you not longer want to get pinged by, bad actor or not.
Immediately upon wiping the scum off of your shoe, you’ll notice that all of those notifications you totally didn’t click (you didn’t, right?) have disappeared. I hope that helps! Remember, Chromebooks don’t get viruses, and if anyone you know is unaware of this fact, be sure to spread the message. By managing your laptop’s permissions, you can avoid this kind of thing from happening in the future. Happy browsing!
I just want the steps!
1. Open Chrome’s Settings
2. Click ‘Privacy and security’ on the left sidebar
3. Click ‘Site settings’
4. Select the trash can next to the offending website
5. Confirm its removal with the dialogue box
6. Say goodbye to spam notifications!