You'll soon be able to shut down your Chromebook USB ports

Chromebook USB ports

Chromebooks may soon be some of the most secure laptops around, as Google is testing a new Chrome OS feature that will allow users to lock USB ports while the screen is locked.

The neat feature was spotted a while back within the operating system’s (OS) open source code in September 2018 by Chrome Story. It’s just now getting wider attention following an update to the feature, which is still in testing, in late December 2018.

This change is designed to protect Chromebook laptops from what are known as ‘Rubber Ducky’ attacks. These attacks require a hacker to physically insert a USB thumb drive into the computer, from which it can access the machine as if it were a user, emulating keyboard presses to execute commands and ultimately steal information.

More protected, but not foolproof

However, you will need to manually enable this feature in its current state with a line of code that’s known as a Chrome OS flag: ‘chrome://flags/#enable-usbguard’. 

Even with this feature enabled, your Chromebook won’t be completely safe in public spaces. Be sure to limit login attempts to your own Google accounts and disable Guest Mode, too.

The feature is currently available in the Canary test builds of Chrome OS, which like the Windows Insider Program for Windows 10 is a publicly available early test version of the OS. Otherwise, this feature will likely hit the general version of Chrome OS soon in a future update.

Via Laptop

Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.