Google Chrome is one of, if not the most popular web browsers out there. It’s easy to use, feature-rich enough to satisfy most users, and completely free.
Sadly, this also means Chrome is frequently the subject of malware attacks because the most popular options are the easiest and most worthwhile to target.
There’s a particular bit of malware (or more likely, a bunch of malware programs that fall under the same umbrella) colloquially known as “The Chrome Virus” that specifically targets and embeds itself in Google Chrome.
If you’re a Chrome user and would like to know what you can do about this kind of malware attack, keep reading, because we’re going to take a detailed look at what it is, and how to deal with it.
Here’s If Uninstalling Chrome Will Remove Malware:
If the malware is only in Chrome, and not in other programs or on your system, then uninstalling Chrome will remove it. However, if the malware was installed by some other program (such as by downloading an infected file), then you might still have an infection even after uninstalling Chrome.
The so-called Chrome Virus specifically targets the Google Chrome browser, hence the name. Depending on what variation of the virus you get, it can cause several things to happen to your browser, none of them pleasant.
You might notice your homepage has changed with no memory of changing it yourself. There might be a new extension—especially a search toolbar—that suddenly appears without you ever installing it. You also might get invasive pop-up ads that appear every few seconds no matter what you do.
Further, if you interact with any of these newly appeared components of your browser, you’re likely to be funneled into an insecure website (one that starts with “HTTP” instead of “HTTPS”) that will insistently try to get you to download something and/or input your personal information.
Obviously, you should never give away personal information to or download something from a sketchy site.
Naturally, this virus is something you’ll want to be rid of as soon as possible. Read on if you’d like to know-how.
Can Malware Be Deleted Along With Chrome?
Given the virus is contained in the Chrome browser, removing the browser will remove the malware, right?
Most times, as long as you haven’t fallen for the attempts to harvest your personal information (which can lead to identity theft issues) or to get you to download something (which can then infect your whole computer instead of just your browser), deleting Google Chrome may in fact remove all traces of the malware from your PC.
The problem is it’s not a guarantee, and even if you do successfully remove the virus along with the browser, you’re now short one internet browser.
You could try another option instead, of course, like Firefox, Opera, or Safari, to name a few, but what if you prefer Chrome and want to keep using it? In that case, you’ll need to reinstall it but lies the rub, because there’s a solid chance the malware may come right back when you do.
Will Deleting and Reinstalling Chrome Remove Malware?
If the virus is contained to Chrome and hasn’t spread to the rest of your computer in any way, uninstalling Chrome may very well remove the malware.
But when you reinstall Chrome, it will remember your previous settings and restore them. Often, this includes the virus, because the installer can’t tell the difference between changes you’ve made yourself, and changes the virus made to your browser.
That being said, this isn’t a cut-and-dried issue. The “Chrome Virus” isn’t just one virus, it’s a category of malware and many variations exist.
A simple uninstall and reinstall might successfully thwart some of them.
The problem is that it’s never a guarantee. You might get lucky and remove every trace of the virus with this method, but you could also get the short end of the stick and end up with a more persistent variant of the virus that re-installs itself right along with the browser.
Are There Any Programs You Can Uninstall to Remove Malware?
With all this in mind, you might wonder if perhaps you’re on the right track, but there’s just something else you need to uninstall to fully cleanse the virus from your PC.
Well, there’s bad news and there’s good news on that front.
If uninstalling the browser didn’t remove the virus, finding some other programs to uninstall too is highly unlikely to accomplish anything.
The good news is there are other highly effective ways to cleanse your device of this and other forms of malware. More on those in a later section.
How Secure Is the Chrome Browser from Malware?
Google Chrome is a very secure internet browser and was ostensibly built from the ground up to be a more secure alternative to other popular internet browsers.
Chrome separates every website with its own rendering process, memory space, and so on.
It can keep up to 20 sites separated this way, which helps protect you by keeping a virtual barrier between your computer and any possible malicious intent originating from the websites you’re browsing.
So if you find your Chrome browser infected by the Chrome Virus regularly and are tiring of it, switching browsers might help ease this issue.
Alternately, if you prefer to stick with Chrome, keep reading to see how you can remove the virus without ditching the browser entirely.
Can Malware Be Installed Inside Chrome?
The category of malware known as “Chrome Virus” absolutely can be and regularly is installed within the Chrome browser itself.
Basically, once the malicious script tricks Chrome into thinking it should be there, it’s very difficult to remove because as far as Chrome is concerned, you may as well have installed those malicious add-ons yourself.
This is why it can be so hard to remove, because even if you uninstall Chrome and remove the virus successfully, when you then re-install your browser, Chrome restores the virus along with all your old settings, thinking it’s being helpful by putting things just like they were before—virus and all.
How Do I Know if I Have Malware?
As far as the Chrome Virus is concerned, it will be pretty obvious. Homepages don’t just change themselves if everything is working fine, just as malicious browser extensions don’t install themselves without your consent on an uninfected browser.
Likewise, while ads are a normal part of a browsing experience, they shouldn’t just be popping up insistently every few seconds for no reason.
A small caveat: do note that if your home page changed back to the default after a browser update, this alone doesn’t mean you have malware, especially if you had personally changed your homepage to something non-default before.
If you’re wondering whether you have malware on your device in general, though, this is a somewhat broader question, but the short answer is: use an anti-malware program to find out. More on that below!
How Do I Get Rid of Malware?
Whether you have the Chrome Virus or are just worried about malware in a general sense, the solutions aren’t too difficult.
First off, you’re going to want a reliable anti-malware program. Most computers ship with one of these by default, so even if you haven’t installed one manually, odds are your device already has something to protect itself. On Windows, that’ll be Windows Defender.
On Mac OS, the default anti-malware program is called “XProtect.”
There are also countless free downloadable anti-malware programs available, enough that we could write a whole article just covering all the options. For now, though, we’ll just recommend you take a look at a list like this one if you’re interested.
Once you’ve got an anti-malware program ready to go, be it the default one on your machine or a trustworthy downloaded alternative, follow this step-by-step list to free your device of malware:
- Open Chrome and click the three dots in the upper-right corner.
- Navigate to “settings,” then click “advanced,” then “reset and clean up.”
- Click “clean up computer” and on the next screen, click “find” to locate the harmful software.
- If malicious programs are found, follow the prompts to remove them.
- Once that’s all done, open whichever anti-malware program you chose.
- Perform a complete scan of your computer with your anti-malware program and remove any unwanted programs it finds.
The first four steps are specific to the Chrome Virus, but the last two are pretty universal for any malware-related issue you may be having. It’s a good idea to scan your computer regularly, just in case.
Most anti-virus programs feature a “quick scan” and “complete scan” option; we’d recommend using the complete scan once every month or two, or whenever you’re worried your computer might be infected. The quick scan is good for regular preventative scans, which you can perform every one or two weeks for good measure.
Complete scans can take a while, so consider starting them before you’re about to take a break and be away from your computer awhile anyway.