Browser extensions

The browser extension runs in the context of the browser. It records the web pages visited and stores the data together with the user login name and the date stamp locally. Snow currently supports deployment of Cloud Application Metering extensions in the following browsers, for browser versions supported by the respective vendor:

  • Windows:

    • Google Chrome

    • Microsoft Edge

    • Mozilla Firefox

    • Microsoft Edge Legacy

  • macOS:

    • Google Chrome

    • Microsoft Edge

    • Mozilla Firefox

    • Apple Safari

Install extensions for Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox

The browser extension for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, on Windows and macOS, is called Snow Web Application Metering. Snow Software is the official publisher of the extension, which is available in the Chrome Web Store and in the Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store, respectively.

The browser extension for Mozilla Firefox on Windows and macOS is an add-on file called FFCloudmetering.xpi. It is distributed as an embedded resource in the Snow Inventory Agent itself. The extension is signed by Mozilla Add-ons but not published there.

The agent checks if the rule files are present in the agent folder, and if the setting saas.[browser].enabled is set to true (default setting). If these conditions are met, the agent will request the browser to download the extension from its store and install it. The agent achieves this by writing a registry key on Windows, updating a .plist or temporarily creating an .xml file for a configuration profile on macOS.

Browser

Platform

Installation method

Google Chrome

Windows

Registry key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Chrome\ExtensionInstallForcelist

Microsoft Edge

Windows

Registry key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Edge\ExtensionInstallForcelist

Mozilla Firefox

Windows

Registry key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Mozilla\Firefox\Extensions

Google Chrome

macOS

.plist file: /Library/Managed Preferences/<username>/com.google.Chrome.plist

Microsoft Edge

macOS

.plist file: /Library/Managed Preferences/<username>/com.microsoft.Edge.plist

Mozilla Firefox

macOS

policies.json file: /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/Resources/distribution/policies.json

Note

Firefox must be installed in /Applications and must be run at least once before the extension can be installed.

If the browser extensions are deployed and managed by management tools or policies, the agent should be configured to not install the extension (saas.[browser].enable is false). The browser extension should then be deployed by the management tool or policy of choice, using the following method:

  • Google Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/snow-web-application-mete/blojlgglhfcmpigjbkllcgjmhincdjhb

  • Microsoft Edge: https://microsoftedge.microsoft.com/addons/detail/fmammgdlmljodabkafnkpagekcigmabk

  • Mozilla Firefox: deploy the FFCloudmetering.xpi file that is present in the agent folder

Install extensions for Microsoft Edge Legacy and Apple Safari

Microsoft Edge Legacy on Windows

The browser extension for Microsoft Edge Legacy is called Snow Cloud Application Metering (Retail). It is deployed independently of the Snow Inventory Agent for Windows.

The extension is available in Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9N1F3W46XTLV.

Refer to Microsoft documentation on how to deploy the extension in a managed environment, by searching the Microsoft Edge documentation on Group policies & configuration options for extensions for the setting Prevent turning off required extensions.

The extension package family name to use for the Snow Cloud Metering Extension is: SnowSoftware.SnowCloudApplicationMeteringRetail_qvsdvy3x9rznySnowSoftware.

Apple Safari on macOS

The browser extension for Apple Safari is called snow-web-application-metering and is available as a separate installation package (.pkg). It is installed independently from the Agent for macOS. Refer to the article Cloud Application Metering extension for Safari on the Snow Globe Community for the installation procedure, as well as the .pkg file.

Functionality

The browser extension captures information on web URLs visited by a user and never records the request body, and then saves this information with a user login name and date on the client computer. The information is stored in encrypted form. Exception: Apple Safari on macOS, where the cloud-metering process is not run, and the extension stores data directly in a client computer.

The file is located in:

  • Windows:

    %ProgramData%\SnowSoftware\Inventory\Agent\cloudmetering\extension-output

  • macOS:

    Users/Shared/SnowSoftware/Inventory/Agent/cloudmetering/extension-output

Remove an extension

All extensions that are installed by the agent, are removed by the agent if any of the following conditions are met:

  • The system setting saas.[browser].enabled is set to false in the agent configuration file, and the agent is restarted.

  • The webmetering.rules and webmetering.crules are removed from the agent root folder, and the agent is restarted.

  • The agent is stopped (on Windows platform).

Removing an extension might also require a restart of the browser.

Exceptions:

Apple Safari is manually uninstalled in the Extension settings in the browser.

Microsoft Edge Legacy is removed according to the installation method that was used for the installation.