Malicious USB devices can pose a major threat to all laptops. Rubber Ducky attacks, which are powered by innocent-looking flash drives, are able to mimic your keyboard and hijack your system.
Currently, you can disable individual USB ports if you’re worried about these attacks. But Google is testing a new feature for Chrome OS that will automatically lock Chromebook USB ports while their screens are locked.
Chrome Story spotted this feature in Chrome OS source code back in September. And just over a week ago, the blog found that users will be able to “whitelist” trusted devices.
The feature is currently available in Canary builds of Chrome OS. You can test it on a Chromebook of your own using the Chrome OS flag “chrome://flags/#enable-usbguard.” Remember that Canary builds, which are testing grounds for many new Chrome features, are more likely to sport bugs and glitches.
If you’re not a Canary user, the feature will likely roll out to the general public soon.
If you want to be able to leave your Chromebook out in the open without fear, however, this won’t do the trick on its own. You’ll also want to make sure you restrict sign-in to your own Google account, so that crooks can’t log in with their own accounts to re-enable the USB ports. (Also, you may want a laptop lock.)