July 2021, NortonLifeLock released almost in total indifference Norton Crypto, a program that allows users to mine ether on their computers. Six months later, the feature caught the attention of the community, and especially that of cybersecurity experts, for inglorious reasons. Explanations.
A hard-to-remove mining program that would run by default
Integrated into the Norton 360 pack, the mining program is presented by the company as opt-in, which means that users must agree to enable it. The Norton Crypto FAQ states that it will mine ether while the customer’s computer is idle. “Norton creates a secure Ethereum digital wallet for each user. The wallet key is encrypted and stored securely in the cloud. Only you have access to the wallet», Specifies the FAQ.
On January 4, Boing Boing co-editor Cory Doctorow tweeted that Norton Crypto would be running by default. Some long-time Norton customers were also horrified that their antivirus product installed mining software, even though it was disabled by default. NortonLifeLock responded by reporting that users can disable the feature if they wish, the modus operandi being to temporarily disable Tamper Protection and remove the NCrypt.exe file from their computers.
Nevertheless, many users reported difficulty removing the program. “Norton should detect and eliminate cryptocurrency hijackings, not install their own. Those responsible for the product must be licensed. What’s the next brilliant idea? Norton Botnet? And I was about to reinstall Norton 360 too but it literally made me not trust Norton and their management anymore“Complained a speaker on the Norton Crypto community forum.
High electricity consumption for incomes that are not there
In addition, cryptocurrency mining causes the computer to consume more energy, which can increase overall electricity costs. “Norton amplifies energy consumption around the world, costing its customers more electricity than they earn from mining, but allowing it to make huge profits. It’s disgusting, rude and brand suicidetweeted cybersecurity expert Chris Vickery.
Then there is the issue of remuneration, since Norton Crypto allows users to withdraw their earnings to a CoinBase account. The product FAQ states that the company pockets 15% of mined cryptos as a fee, while emphasizing that users must also pay transaction fees on Ethereum. However, several users have complained about not being able to withdraw their earnings, which are systematically blocked if the requested amount cannot cover the transfer fees.
Exasperated by the many flaws of Norton Crypto, some users are already inviting the community to boycott NortonLifeLock products. The company will obviously have to remove the new functionality from its antivirus to save the furniture.
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Luc Jose Adjinacou
Far from having dampened my enthusiasm, an unsuccessful investment in 2017 on a few cryptos only increased my enthusiasm. I therefore resolved to study and understand the blockchain and its many uses and to relay with my pen information relating to this ecosystem.