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Chrome 78 cannot work with Symantec Endpoint Protection

Chrome 78 cannot work with Symantec
Written by Brendan Smith

Last week, Chrome upgraded to version 78, which brought support for DoH (DNS over HTTPS), the ability to enable forced dark mode for any sites, support for Password Checkup, and much more. However, Chrome 78 cannot work with Symantec Endpoint Protection.

Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) users were not able to appreciate the innovations of Chrome 78, as their browser crashed immediately after launch and refused to load pages.

Complaints about this bug began to appear in large numbers on Reddit, in the comments on the official Google Chrome blog, and so on. Most complaints come from corporate environments where SEP is commonly used.

“I just started my laptop and first thing I opened is chrome. It didn’t display anything and all my extensions have crashed. I closed all browsers, uninstalled and reinstalled chrome. However, the issue persisted. Anyone have an idea on how to fix this?”, — writes Reddit user with a nick K310u.

Symantec representatives have already published a newsletter in which they acknowledged the existence of the problem and suggested temporary solutions to it.

Developers write that the bug affects all SEP users working with Windows 10 RS1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2016, as well as all versions of Windows where SEP versions older than 14.2 are installed. In addition, the problem concerns the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge, but the updated browser is not yet available to the public.

Interestingly, more than three months ago, Symantec developers were warned that such a problem would arise (then Chrome 78 was still at the testing stage and was a Canary branch). Now, developers blame the ongoing Application Control and Microsoft Code Integrity functionality that Google uses to protect the Chrome process.

Recall that just two weeks ago, the Symantec Endpoint Protection update already caused many problems for Windows 7.8 and 10 users. The affected devices malfunctioned, and the update provoked a blue death screen (BSOD), which referred to problems with IDSvix86.sys and IDSvia64.sys. In addition, some users complained about an arbitrary reboot of the servers, but did not indicate which OS they were running. Some victims reported that the problem affected dozens of machines in their organization, while others wrote that they had problems with more than 10,000 systems.

Mitigation

As a workaround, Symantec advises users to add Chrome to antivirus exceptions or launch a browser without protecting code integrity:

Chrome.exe –disable-features = RendererCodeIntegrity

Both of these will significantly weaken browser security and may make it vulnerable to various attacks. Fortunately, as Google experts point out, updating Symantec Endpoint Protection to version 14.2 should help fix the problem for many users. However, this fix method may not work for everyone, so Symantec experts promise to introduce an additional patch on November 12, 2019.

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About the author

Brendan Smith

Journalist, researcher, web content developer, grant proposal editor. Efficient and proficient on multiple platforms and in diverse media. Computer technology and security are my specialties.

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