Norton’s Antivirus Software Comes with a Crypto Miner, and They’re Not Alone

Norton’s Antivirus Software Comes with a Crypto Miner, and They’re Not Alone

Last week a claim unfolded on Twitter that Norton was installing crypto mining software without authorization on PC’s which then rose to the level of outrage amongst some Norton antivirus software customers.

The truth on the subject is a mixed bag, while it’s true they are installing a crypto miner on customer machines it’s not active on every machine, customers must authorize the process before the device will begin mining crypto (in this case Ethereum). If you authorize Norton to begin mining cryptocurrency on your device they will setup a wallet for you and after a small cut, and then deposit your earnings there when you meet a certain threshold.

Norton did make an announcement that they were planning on including a crypto miner within their software before rolling it out to a small number of users last summer, however at the time of writing we’re uncertain any announcement was made when they decided to make it a component for every user.

Their goal was to provide a “safer alternative” to other sketchy mining programs a user may find on the web. Although we suspect that the cut (15% at the time of writing) they’re receiving from users who opt in is an added bonus.

Even with the news that you must activate the crypto mining intentionally before Norton will crypto mine on your behalf, many aren’t happy that the application is a default addition to their antivirus services and there Isn’t a clear-cut way to remove it.

We do have instructions for removing it, you must temporarily turn off Norton’s anti-tamper feature (instructions on how to do so here) and then you’re able to remove the NCrypt.exe from your PC. If you do decide to instead use the crypto miner, it works as others do where it will only begin mining when your computer is idle.

Norton aren’t the only antivirus software providers including a crypto miner built in either, Avira antivirus (which for transparencies sake has been recently purchased by Norton 360) has also announced Avira Crypto.

Although the details on Avira Crypto are even more sparse than with Norton Crypto, they don’t currently specify what they’re cut is from the currency you mine for instance.

It’s also worth noting that the inclusion of crypto mining into these antivirus software has caused other unrelated antivirus software to flag them as potentially malicious. Users currently annoyed by the inclusion believe Norton should be on the same page, that they should be flagging and removing unauthorized crypto miners – not installing their own.

Also, the fees taken by Norton or Avira stack up with the fees associated with moving the Ethereum out of the wallet they create into one where you can actually use it, which means it can take a while before a user accrues a usable balance (while at the same time increasing wear and tear on their machine and adding to their power bills).

All and all it’s a pretty mixed bag and for users who are not yet savvy in the crypto mining space, maybe not the best additive to a software meant to protect their machines from destructive intrusions.

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