Technology

Norton now includes crypto mining software alongside its antivirus program


Norton Antivirus is trying to bring cryptocurrency mining to the masses (Credits: Shutterstock / eamesBot)

Norton is a brand name synonymous with antivirus software, but the US-based company is also getting involved with cryptocurrency.

The latest version of its Norton 360 security software comes complete with optional crypto mining software that sets about harvesting Ethereum.

For the uninitiated, cryptocurrency mining is when a computer cranks away at a mathematical problem which, in turn, generates the digital currency. The more currency you want to mine, the harder the maths problem gets and the more power required to solve it.

As a result, many miners ‘pool’ their computational power together to effectively mine for crypto like Bitcoin or Ethereum. This is also what gives cryptocurrency its staggering environmental cost.

Enter Norton.

By providing relatively simple software, the antivirus company is allowing regular people to get in on small-scale crypto mining.

It also acts as a pool operator to bring together all the users of its Norton Crypto software to increase mining potential.

However, the fact that Norton then takes a 15% cut – far larger cut than the 1% or 2% you’d find from other pool operators – has prompted something of a backlash.

As well as Twitter, angry users took to Norton’s message boards to accuse the company of sneaking the mining software onto their computers.

Norton has defended itself against the claims. The company has made clear that Norton Crypto (which it announced publically last summer) is an opt-in program that requires users to voluntarily activate and use it.

Furthermore, Norton’s miner will only run if your computer meets certain basic requirements.

‘In addition to having a device that meets system requirements, you must also turn on Norton Crypto on your device. If you have turned on Norton Crypto, but you no longer want to use the feature, you can disable it through your Norton Crypto dashboard,’ the company says on its FAQ page.

But despite this, it looks increasingly like this is a better deal for Norton than the end user.

Ethereum transaction fees are currently high, due to load on the network. Couple that with increased energy consumption due to running a computer all the time and it’s easy to see how a user could end up losing more money than they make.

Meanwhile, if enough people get on board, Norton could end up making a serious amount of coin from everyone involved at the same time as sending out the signal to other software providers that this could earn big bucks.


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