Alert for PolicyPak Browser Router + Chrome “Outage” beginning 1/7/2019, Ended 1/10/2019

Update 1/10/2019: The Chrome Extension has been re-listed. Just close Chrome and re-open and it should work a-ok again. Thanks for the patience during this time !

This is an alert for all PolicyPak customers who are using the PolicyPak Browser Router component. This alert is for all customers: PP GP, PP Cloud, and PP MDM.

First: This is NOT a security alert in any way.

Problem: PolicyPak Browser Router + Chrome is not working as expected

You may see that users, after they log on to a new profile, will not get PolicyPak Browser Router to work as expected with the Chrome browser.

That is, routes FROM Chrome TO other browsers will simply not work.

On January 7, 2019 we became aware that the PolicyPak Browser Router Chrome Extension has stopped working in some instances for most customers (not all).

What happened

What has happened is that the PolicyPak Browser Router extension for Chrome has been de-listed (by Google) in the Chrome store.

Which of my users are affected?

In our testing, it appears that end-Users who have already received PolicyPak Browser Router policies and already downloaded the Chrome extension BEFORE January 7, 2019 are not affected.

What we are seeing is that you will only see PolicyPak Browser Router + Chrome stop functioning for NEW users, and/or when you log on to another machine, or otherwise start a new profile for the user.

In these cases, PolicyPak Browser Router Client Side Extension will try to, and fail to download a PolicyPak Browser Router extension which has been de-listed.

It’s possible there is some other Chrome behavior that could occur where an existing extension is un-installed, but we didn’t see that in our testing with this issue.

Update 1/8/2019 at 6PM: (One customer reported that existing end-users were affected. We do not have mass reports of that at this time.)

Which versions of the Client Side Extension are affected?

CSEs published to the portal within the following date ranges are affected:

  • 5/24/2017 – 1/29/2018
  • 1/29/2018 – 5/10/2018
  • 5/10/2018 – 11/14/2018

These are CSE versions which correlate to those dates:

  • 6-14-2017: Build 1371
  • 6-21-2017: Build 1379
  • 7-6-2017: MMC update fix only.
  • 7-20-2017: CSE Update 1407 with minor fixes.
  • 8-17-2017: CSE Update 1434 with Major and Minor fixes.
  • 11-14-2017: CSE Update 1524 / hotfix build.
  • 12-19-2017: CSE update 1560.
  • 3-2-2018: CSE update 1638.
  • 3-20-2018: CSE Update 1649.
  • 3-28-18: CSE update 1659. (Non-critical update)
  • 7-27-2018: CSE update 1779
  • 9-3-2018: CSE update 1808
  • 9-27-2018: MMC update 1842
  • 10-11-2018: CSE and MMC update 1856

The Chrome IDs/ URLs which are taken down are:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/policypak-browser-router/mfeebkookdmejnaljhahgjojlcahjoni

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/policypak-browser-router/jdhmijaiabbgphiblbckmccdckhodbak

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/policypak-browser-router/kndjicdjdanehpnonfmdekhinhdcdnbo

What really happened / why was the extension taken down?

After investigating, the problem is that we were missing an icon and/or didn’t point to a YouTube video explaining PolicyPak.

In fairness: this was our fault.

They tried to notify us, and we missed the email warning, and yesterday, some versions of the PolicyPak Browser Router Chrome Extension were taken down.

We have taken additional steps to become aware of alerts like this, and we’re sorry we missed the signals from the Chrome Extensions team.

What are we doing now?

We have corrected the errant “missing icon” and so on, and have now asked for the already-published extensions to be re-instated, as we know this causing a problem for our customers.

What should YOU (the customer) do now?

Remember that users who have already received PolicyPak Browser Router policies and already downloaded the Chrome extension are not affected. You will only see the problem for NEW users and/or when you log on to another machine or otherwise start a new profile for the user.

That being said, there are two choices for what you can do now:

  • Choice 1: Wait until Google re-instates our already-published items.  What we THINK will happen is that everything will just go back to normal. We cannot KNOW this until the extension is republished, though. But at this time, WAITING IS THE RECOMMENDED PATH. What should occur is that existing users should sync up AND new users, etc will simply re-download the PolicyPak Browser Router extension and PolicyPak Browser Router will just work. This could be one to ten days according to Google. Chances are it will be 24-48 hours from the time this blog post is published.
  • Choice 2: We have a Client Side Extension hotfix build available for customers who are severely impacted by this issue. We have a “not yet published”, future Chrome Extension which was not disabled by the Chrome store. Therefore, if you absolutely need it, we can provide an updated Client Side Extension which will request a valid PolicyPak Browser Router Chrome Extension download. Because this version was uploaded with icons and pointers to YouTube videos, we expect this extension will not be disabled in the future.

If, after the extensions  are re-published, we are WRONG in our assumption about “Choice 1” .. then we will ship a new build via the PORTAL for all customers and send another email about it to you.

What can I do if I have questions?

For this issue

Further updates to this issue will be simply posted to this blog entry and/or the FORUM thread on this issue.

Again, sorry for the problem, and we hope to get this resolved soon.

Jeremy Moskowitz

Founder & CTO, Microsoft MVP in Group Policy, Enterprise Mobility, and MDM

Jeremy Moskowitz founded PolicyPak Software after working with hundreds of customers with the same problem they couldn’t manage their applications, browsers and operating systems using the technology they already utilized.