Antivirus firm Norton is being criticized for adding a hard-to-remove cryptocurrency miner, named Norton Crypto, to its Norton 360 software suite. Norton announced the integration in June, advertises it as an easy way for users to use the excess processing power on their computers to mine Etherirum. Norton Crypto only works with machines with powerful graphics cards like AMD or Nvidia at least 6GB.
Of course, nothing is free and 15% of the value of the cryptocurrency goes to Norton, along with the transaction fees, in addition the company also has full control of the customers’ e-wallets. Netizens were horrified when this feature officially appeared.
In a statement, Norton says the tool is off by default. “Norton Crypto is an optional tool and cannot be enabled without the user’s permission,‘ said a company spokesman. “If a user has Norton Crypto enabled but no longer wants to use the feature, they can disable it through Norton 360.”
Norton’s statement seemed to add fuel to the fire, causing outrage among many users.
“If it’s optional, why is it installed by default and can’t be removed without removing all anti-virus software?”, One Twitter user asked. Meanwhile, others expressed displeasure with the condescending tone of the customer service response and suggested Norton should stick with it as a cybersecurity company.
“Too absurd”, Cory Doctorow said. “Norton antivirus surreptitiously installs a cryptocurrency miner on your computer, then takes a commission.”
Others point out that users may lose money using the tool, depending on how much electricity they have to pay.
Security researcher Chris Vickery wrote on Twitter: “Norton is driving up worldwide energy consumption, costing their customers more electricity than they earn from mining, but Norton is still making a lot of money.”
“It is disgusting, gross and self-brand killing,” he added.
Although Norton claims that the Norton Crypto tool only mines with the user’s permission, the feature is automatically installed. “without consulting during product installation”, Twitter user Maxius pointed out in a tweet in December.
“There is no way to prevent it from installing on your system or disable it,” others said. Users point out that Norton 360 software installs the miner on its own on PCs through a program called NCrypt.exe, which is very difficult to uninstall.
Norton has yet to confirm whether it intends to make it easier for users to uninstall Norton Crypto.