India Issues “Update Now” Warning for Millions of Google Chromebook Users In 2024

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India Issues Update Now Warning for Millions of Google Chromebook Users

The Critical Need to Update Google Chrome OS After India’s High Severity Warning

In February 2024, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issued a high-severity warning concerning multiple dangerous vulnerabilities in Google’s Chrome OS that powers Chromebooks. These vulnerabilities could allow remote hackers to take control of users’ devices. While Google has released fixes, all Chromebook users need to promptly update to stay protected. This article covers the risks, key actions to take, and why constant software updating is essential today.

Overview of the Severe Chrome OS Vulnerabilities

On February 8, 2024, CERT-In published advisory CIVN-2024-0031, revealing high-severity flaws in Chrome OS versions before 114.0.5735.350 (Platform 15437.90.0) on the Long Term Support channel

CERT-In is India’s national cybersecurity agency, formed in 2004 under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). It is responsible for monitoring and responding to cyber threats across the country.

The main vulnerabilities stem from:

  • Use after free in Side Panel Search: This enables arbitrary remote code execution or security bypass by exploiting memory errors.
  • Insufficient data validation in Extensions: Inadequate input validation in Google Chrome extensions can let attackers execute malicious actions.

By luring users to malicious sites, remote hackers could trigger these vulnerabilities to take over devices. The vulnerabilities bypass current security measures.

Potential Impacts of Successful Exploitation

If successfully exploited, these vulnerabilities allow cybercriminals to:

  • Remotely execute malicious code on the Chromebook.
  • Install spyware, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, or other threats.
  • Steal login credentials, personal data, and files.
  • Use the Google Chromebook resources for illegal activities as part of a botnet.
  • Gain persistence and backdoor access, even after the user restarts their device.
  • Pivot further into corporate networks if the Google Chromebook is used for remote work.

Successfully compromised Google Chromebooks can then be leveraged as launch points for larger attacks.

Updating Google Chrome OS is Critical to Prevent Attacks

CERT-In strongly advised all users to urgently update Google Chrome OS to version 114.0.5735.350 or later. These releases contain security patches that eliminate these specific vulnerabilities.

All Chromebook users should follow these steps:

  • Check your current Google Chrome OS version in Settings.
  • If below 114.0.5735.350, enable automatic updates.
  • Or manually update by going to Settings > About Chrome OS > Check for Updates.

Updating closes the vulnerabilities, preventing potential cyber-attacks and data breaches.

Google’s Ongoing Security Efforts for Google Chrome OS

Google has implemented several security measures specifically for Google Chrome OS :

  • Sandboxing – Each app and process runs in a restricted sandbox environment.
  • Verified Boot – Enforces signature checks during the boot process to prevent tampering.
  • Encrypted Data – Local user data is encrypted by default.
  • Auto Updates – Security updates are automatically applied in the background.
  • Site Isolation – Websites run in separate isolated processes for additional browser security.

But software constantly evolves, leading to new risks. Users have to stay on top of updates.

The Growing Threat of Software Vulnerabilities

Sophisticated hackers are continuously finding and exploiting new vulnerabilities in all types of software and devices. The number of reported vulnerabilities surged by 25% in 2023 alone [3]. Key factors driving this include:

  • Increasing software complexity
  • Rushed software development and inadequate testing
  • The challenge of securing interconnected systems
  • Rise of state-sponsored and criminal hacking groups

This means users must be far more proactive today in applying security updates as soon as they are available. The longer you delay software updates, the greater the risk of being victimized by cybercrime.

Best Practices for Software Security in 2024

Here are vital best practices for all software users to stay secure:

  • Always accept automatic security updates for your devices, OS, apps, and services. Turn on auto-update everywhere you can.
  • Manually install updates immediately if automatic updates are unavailable.
  • Use cloud-based anti-malware software on all devices, keeping it updated too.
  • Be cautious of links and attachments, avoiding sketchy websites.
  • Use unique complex passwords on every account, stored in a password manager.
  • Backup your data regularly in case malware encrypts your files for ransom.
  • If your software is no longer supported with updates, replace it right away.

Staying disciplined with these steps is essential in our ever-evolving cyber threat landscape.

The Role of the Cybersecurity Community

CERT-In’s warning highlights the critical role cybersecurity researchers, ethical hackers, and vendors play in identifying and patching dangerous vulnerabilities before they are widely exploited.

By reporting flaws through responsible disclosure and coordinating with vendors like Google, the cybersecurity community helps protect massive numbers of users worldwide.


Q: What was the main risk with the Google Chrome OS vulnerabilities?

A: The flaws could allow remote takeover of Chromebooks by malicious actors, enabling access to sensitive data.

Q: How can I check my Google Chromebook’s OS version?

A: Go to Settings > About Chrome OS to see your current Google Chrome OS version number.

Q: Should I manually update my Google Chromebook OS or enable auto-updates?

A: Enabling auto-updates is best for convenience and ensuring you get every security fix. But you can also manually update by going to Settings > About Chrome OS > Check for Updates.

Q: How often does Google release Google Chrome OS updates?

A: Google provides new stable Google Chrome OS updates roughly every 2-3 weeks, with constant security patches.

Q: What happens if my Google Chromebook model stops receiving updates?

A: If your device falls out of its Auto Update Expiration date, it’s time to replace your Google Chromebook with a newer supported model.

Q: Besides Google Chromebooks, what other software needs prompt security updates?

A: You need to promptly update your operating systems, browsers, productivity software, apps, cloud services, entertainment software, and any Internet of Things devices.

Q: What’s the benefit of using cloud-based anti-malware software?

A: It provides constant real-time protection on all your devices. The software stays up to date via the cloud, protecting you from the latest threats.


India’s high-severity Google Chrome OS warning highlights the constant risks we all face from new software vulnerabilities. While vendors like Google respond with fixes, users cannot delay applying updates. Make it a habit to install every security patch to all your software. Encourage family and friends to do the same. With cybercrime accelerating, being proactive and vigilant is your best defence in 2024.


This article is only for informational and educational purposes. It should not be considered technical advice. Please consult a professional expert or vendor for technical support.

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