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The most popular antivirus, Norton 360, made a miner of all. Although this has been happening for a while, the internet recently found out about it. Norton’s traditional customers are angry. One of the most controversial parts of the story is the 15% rate the company takes. This is a commercial program that you have to pay for, so it makes sense that people aren’t quite right with that.
Related reading | Research: Cryptocurrency mining malware still plentiful despite market downturn
Of course, Norton’s Ethereum mining software is nothing new. Seven months ago, when they were testing it, the sister site Bitcoinist reported it and said:
“A select number of Norton 360 customers, who joined the early adopter program, received their invitations to mine Ethereum today. The program is expected to expand to all 13 million Norton customers in the coming months.
Explaining the strange pairing, the company said that cryptocurrency mining is risky and often involves disrupting security and allowing “unverified code.” This leaves miners vulnerable to skimmed earnings and ransomware. Norton claims to address these issues by enabling users to safely and easily mine cryptocurrency through its easy-to-use Norton 360 platform.”
Well, this is for your own good. How can you be suspicious of the wonderful people at Norton?
The Internet detects the presence of Norton’s Ethereum
The mining software went viral when Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow tweeted, “Norton ‘Antivirus’ now installs encryption software on your computer, then SKIMS A COMMISSION.”
This is ridiculous. Norton “Antivirus” now installs an encryption program on your computer, then SKIMS A COMMISSION. https://t.co/6s2otyCd78
– Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) Jan 4, 2022
Security expert and journalist Brian Krebs took a look at the case and here’s what he found:
According to the FAQ posted on its site, Norton Crypto will mine Ethereum (ETH) cryptocurrency while the customer computer is idle. The FAQ also says that Norton Crypto will only work on systems that meet certain hardware and software requirements (such as an NVIDIA graphics card). with at least 6 GB of memory).
This doesn’t look that bad. Additionally, “NortonLifeLock says that Norton Crypto is a subscription-only feature and is not enabled without user permission.” OK, but, is the Accept button checked from the start? And why can’t people uninstall the program then? In a written statement, NortonLifeLock responded:
If users run Norton Crypto but no longer want to use the feature, it can be temporarily disabled by turning off Tamper Protection (which allows users to modify Norton installation) and deleting NCrypt.exe from your computer.
ETH price chart for 01/08/2021 on FTX | Source: ETH/USD on TradingView.com
What was the public’s reaction to the fact that they were Ethereum miners?
According to Krebs, “Long Norton customers were terrified that their antivirus product might install coin mining software, regardless of whether the mining service was turned off by default.” This is what the program should protect them from. They don’t know it’s for their own good and should blindly trust Norton.
On the other hand, people who agreed to this and wanted to raise ETH faced another hurdle. Gas fee. If this fact is difficult to navigate for experienced Ethereum users, imagine what it was like for beginners who were not familiar with their new profession as Ethereum miners. To help with visualization, simply read the explanation of Norton FAQ:
“Cryptocurrency transfers may result in transaction fees (also known as “gas” fees) to cryptocurrency blockchain network users who process the transaction. Additionally, if you choose to exchange your cryptocurrency for another currency, you may be required to pay a fee to an exchange that facilitates Transaction. Transaction fees fluctuate due to cryptocurrency market conditions and other factors. These fees are not specified by Norton.”
Although what they are saying is true, how will civilians react to the ridiculous Ethereum gas fees last year?
Summary and conclusion, Norton’s position
For a quick assessment of the situation, we turn to the resistance Bradley Rittler of Money who tweeted. “What?! Norton Antivirus is now mining Ethereum *by default*. The Accept button is checked automatically and once installed it is very hard to remove. They take 15% of my money!”
what?! Norton antivirus now mines Ethereum *by default* – the “Accept” button is checked automatically and once installed it is very difficult to remove. And they take 15% of what me! https://t.co/5OXDE76KEA
– Bradley Rettler (@rettlerb) Jan 6, 2022
Yes, that’s all there is to it. For the implications, we return to security expert Brian Krebs:
“I think what bothers me most about Norton Crypto is that it will introduce millions of less savvy internet users to the cryptocurrency world, which comes with its own set of unique security and privacy challenges that require users to “upgrade” their personal security practices in fairly significant ways. .
Related reading | Powerbridge Technologies Prepares to Launch Bitcoin and Ethereum Mining in Hong Kong
This also appears to be true.
What will Proof of Work critics say, now that half of the planet is an Ethereum miner? And what will happen to the program once Ethereum turns Proof-Of-Stake? Urgent questions.
Featured image by Sigmund on Unsplash | Charts by TradingView