Browsium

Knowledge Base

Catalyst rules invoked in Google Chrome before URL is completed in the address bar

Applies To

Catalyst 2.x or earlier (does not affect Catalyst 3.x)

Summary

Google Chrome includes a ‘predictive’ network capability, called “predict network actions”, designed to improve page load performance. As designed, this feature pre-fetches pages based on URLs entered into the address bar by the user or instructions coded into a webpage by a website.

Problem

When enabled, the predict network actions feature instructs the Chrome browser to download the targeted pages on the user’s behalf, without their explicit interaction or having instantiated a navigation event. As a result this feature may cause Catalyst to see ‘phantom’ navigation requests coming from Chrome for pages already in the Chrome history that match a Catalyst rule. While these navigation requests may be valid, there is no way for Catalyst to determine which navigation events are issued ‘silently’ by the predictive feature or those issued intentionally by the user. The result is that a Catalyst navigation may occur while typing an address into the Chrome address bar, even if the ultimate URL would not match a Catalyst rule.

For example, if a user has visited browsium.com in Chrome before Catalyst is installed, browsium.com is resident in the Chrome History. If a Catalyst rule is subsequently created to redirect browsium.com to Internet Explorer, this rule may be inadvertently invoked when visiting brazil.com by simply typing the first few letters of the URL.

Solution

Users of Catalyst should disable the predict network actions feature to avoid false positives that cause Catalyst redirection when a rule would not ultimately be matched. This feature can be disabled manually from the Chrome Settings page by unchecking the box next to “Predict network actions to improve page load performance”. IT can centrally manage this setting across a large number of end user PCs, and prohibit users from changing the setting, by installing the Chrome Group Policy templates and Disabling the ‘Enable network prediction’ policy.

disable-chrome-predict-network-actions

 

To view the status of this feature after disabling via Group Policy, navigate to the chrome://settings page and it will look like the following:

predict-network-actions-setting

Posted in: Catalyst Knowledge Base

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