In early January 2022, several tweets went viral after they criticized Norton antivirus for installing crypto mining software on users’ devices. The crypto mining software was installed without the knowledge of users. These tweets included one from famous tech activist and author Cory Doctorow. In one tweet, the author described it as “f***ing wild.”
How Norton Antivirus Could Be Mining Crypto On Your Device
Doctorow included a link to Norton’s FAQ section, which states that the company can install crypto mining software on your device and use it to mine crypto. It led to backlash and raised a storm on the social networking sites.
How It Works
While the issue caused a lot of emotive tweets, there was also a lot of inaccurate information being shared. Norton has been allowing users to mine crypto on their idle computers since mid-2021.
The company first announced the feature in June 2021. It was rolled out to those in the early adopter program and Norton 360 for Gaming subscribers.
Some of the tweets stated that it was not possible to prevent Norton from installing the mining software on your device or disabling it. However, others pointed out that the feature was disabled by default. Speaking to The Verge, a spokesperson for NortonLifeLock stated that the NCrypt.exe file could be removed from a user’s device by temporarily turning off the Norton tamper protection feature. Doing so would allow the user to delete the file.
The FAQ section of the company has since been updated to reflect this stance. In the updated section, Norton makes it clear that the software only runs on devices that meet system requirements. Besides that, users have to manually toggle the Norton Crypto software to begin mining crypto on their devices. Additionally, the feature can be disabled in the Norton Crypto dashboard even after it has been turned on.
However, one aspect of the criticism is true. The company does indeed take a commission from those mining crypto using Norton Crypto. This commission is set at 15 percent.
In essence, the company is operating a crypto mining pool where the processing power is combined to increase the chances of successfully mining crypto. According to The Verge, mining pool commissions are standard. However, on other mining pools, the commission is usually set at a maximum of two percent. The report also pointed out that Norton already takes a subscription fee from users.
Norton has pledged that the feature will always be an opt-in option. The company’s spokesperson added that they were transparent in how the software works on users’ devices and that would not change.
For gamers who are new to crypto mining and seeking to make some extra cash from their idle computing power, the Norton Crypto is a great way to enter the crypto sector. However, serious retail miners are unlikely to sign up to the Norton Crypto mining pool due to the high fees and commissions required to join.
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