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How Chromebooks became the go-to laptop for security experts

I come across more MacBooks than anything else in terms of devices that security professionals carry around. A lot of the really interesting stuff happens in virtual machines running on those MacBooks and/or on cloud services…:

When the team behind Google’s Chrome OS software and Chromebooks set out to reinvent the laptop, it quickly zeroed in on security as an area where it could bring a fresh perspective.

“On Chrome OS, we were like, ‘We control all the pieces. We can do better,'” Will Drewry, a principal software engineer for Google’s devices, and one of the founding fathers of the Chromebook, said in an interview in January.

The team wanted to build something that would fit this generation’s needs, as well as address the rising crop of threats facing PCs.

“Security was thought of very differently back then because there weren’t as many security attack vectors that are out today,” Kan Liu, Google’s director of product management, said in the same interview.

Liu and Drewry sent out a prototype unit, the CR-48, to security experts for feedback. The responses were surprising.

“A lot of the early feedback was very detailed on things like, ‘Hey, the trackpad is terrible,'” Liu said.

Google’s CR-48 was the first ever Chromebook. When Will Drewry and Kan Liu, two of Chrome OS’s founding fathers, sent it to security researchers, the feedback was more about issues with the trackpad.

Josh Miller/CNET

There was hardly a peep when it came to security flaws.

Nine years later, and Chromebooks are a smash success. Nearly three out of every five machines used in schools run the Chrome OS, according to researcher Futuresource Consulting.


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Peter Glock
Over 30 years of designing, building and managing telecoms and IT services. Primarily working with large enterprise and professional services businesses in Asia, North America, continental Europe and the UK. Information security professional, secret physics nerd.

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