Symantec Antivirus crashes Google Chrome 78

[German]Yesterday Google released the Chrome browser version 78 (see Chrome 78 released). Users who have Symantec Antivirus or Endpoint Protection installed got a nasty surprise. Symantec Antivirus crashes browser tabs. The Microsoft Edge browser version 78, which is based on Chromium, is also affected and can’t longer displays pages.


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On reddit.com you can find thispost, which was created on October 23, 2019, shortly after the release of Chrome 78. A user writes:

Chrome 78 Update & Symantec Endpoint Protection Issue!

Hi, Few hours ago Google released Update 78 for Chrome and since then it’s seems to be broken for symantec endpoint protection users.

The problem is you can’t load any pages, You will get “Aw, Snap” Error.
The workaround I found was to launch chrome with no sandbox:

Chrome.exe –no-sandbox
Anyone know a permanent solution?
My symantec endpoint protection version is 14.0 MP1

The same post may be found within the Symantec forum. In the meantime, Symantec has published this support article on the topic.

Google Chrome version 78.0.x error “Aw, Snap! Something went wrong while displaying this webpage.” when using a Symantec Endpoint Protection

When launching Google Chrome version 78.0.x or later, the message “Aw Snap! Something went wrong while displaying this webpage.” is present if any version of Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) is installed with the Application Control feature on Windows Server 2016. This issue also affects Microsoft Edge Chromium version 78.0x with an error message of “Page cannot be displayed”.

This issue also impacts Chrome/Chromium installed on any Operating System (OS) if a SEP version older than 14.2 is installed.

The browser then reports Aw Snap! Something went wrong while displaying this webpage, and the tab no longer works.

Chrome and Edge affected

The problem affects not only Google Chrome, but also the Microsoft Edge browser when it uses the Chromium engine. The problem occurs in all versions of Windows when the following environment is present:

  • Browser-Version
    • Google Chrome 78.0.x (October 2019)
    • Microsoft Edge Chromium 78.0.x
  • Windows Server 2016 with any version of SEP installed.
  • Any Windows OS with a SEP version older than 14.2 installed.

The issue is related to Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) up to version 14.2 because SEP Application Control technology is not compatible with the browser once Microsoft’s Code Integrity feature is enabled.


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On any operating system other than Windows Server 2016, [Addendum from Symantec: and Windows Server 2012, and Windows 10 RS1],  Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) can be upgraded to version 14.2 or later to resolve the incompatibility.

Some Workarounds

Just a short addendum: This night, when I wrote the blog post, I probably wasn’t no longer so attentive. Somewhere in the back of my mind there was a ‘there was still something’ thought. But I had forgotten that someone had left this comment (see also his remark below):

It seems that SEP 14.1 and lower trigger an “Aw, snap!” error due to code injection.
Current working workaround: launch Chrome with the following command:

chrome.exe –disable-features=RendererCodeIntegrity

More info

Blog reader EP mentioned, that running Google Chrome 78 in ‘“Win8 compatibility mode” works also (it’s a proposal on ZDNet.com in this comments). Bleeping Computer also deals with the issue within this article and propose a registry fix to disable the RendererCodeIntegrity feature. In the meantime also Google has published this support-article dealing with the issue.

Symantec is causing issues again

Symantec and its security products are slowly becoming troble makers, as the tweet below shows.

In August 2019, Symantec corrupted Windows Updates. In the same month, Chrome 76 was corrupted under macOS and after the October 2019 patchday there were blue screens under Windows.

Similar articles:
Symantec SEP Update causes BSOD in Windows (10/14/2019)
Symantec releases a patch for the SHA-2 bug in Windows 7


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5 Responses to Symantec Antivirus crashes Google Chrome 78

  1. Andrea says:

    As I wrote in your article regarding the release of Chrome 78, I suggest to use the “–disable-features=RendererCodeIntegrity” command. I suppose it is less strong and more secure of a complete sandbox deactivation with “–no-sandbox”.

    • guenni says:

      Many thanks for the hint. I still remembered that I saw that thing, but forgot that it has been in my own blog. I’ve added your and EP’s hints to the text above.

  2. EP says:

    another workaround is to run Chrome 78 in “Win8 compatibility mode” as noted in Catalin Cimpanu’s ZDNet article in the “comments” section:
    https://www.zdnet.com/article/symantec-antivirus-crashes-something-again-this-time-chrome-78-browsers/

  3. EP says:

    apparently, one of Google Chrome 78’s new features seems to be the cause of the “aw snap” crashes

    https://news.softpedia.com/news/google-disables-chrome-78-feature-causing-aw-snap-error-messages-528020.shtml
    https://support.google.com/chrome/thread/17555930?hl=en

    so it seems Symantec is not the only thing crashing Chrome 78, guenni
    Google themselves has to issue an updated version of Chrome 78 in the upcoming days or weeks to fix the problem on their end

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  5. Kenneth Tan says:

    Regedit:

    Creating this key solved my problems (on multiple systems over the last month)
    If the sub-key is not present, create it:

    Key: HKLM\Software\Policies\Google\Chrome
    Name: RendererCodeIntegrityEnabled
    Type: DWORD (32-bit)
    Value: 0

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