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Norton antivirus adds crypto-miner and takes a cut of the earnings
© Tommy Song |

Don’t do it – This antivirus software installs crypto-miner (and takes a cut)

Cryptocurrencies have been around for some time and are very popular. But it comes with some risks, and this is the most dangerous thing you can do if you’re new to crypto.

The digital currency is created through a process called crypto mining. Many people have gone to great lengths to develop elaborate crypto mining operations, spending thousands of dollars on high-end machines that run day and night. Others have taken to sneakier methods for hopefully getting rich.

That’s when cybercriminals use the power of someone else’s computer to do the work. Now, a popular antivirus software company is openly adding crypto mining to its user’s devices and taking a cut of the earnings. Read on to see what’s happening.

Here’s the backstory

When installing antivirus software, you expect it to protect against security threats. The last thing you want to find packaged in the program is a crypto-miner.

Discovered by digital activist Cory Doctorow, it turns out that Norton’s antivirus software now comes with a crypto-miner. While you need to opt in for the miner to begin working, it is concerning.

The miner springs into action when you are not using your device and sets up a secure wallet for you. As usual, there is no such thing as free money. While serving as the miner facilitator, Norton will take 15% off the top.

What you can do about it

As mentioned, you need to opt into the miner before it starts using your computer. If you change your mind about the process, you can opt out of the function, but it won’t be easy. You can only disable the mining but not remove the module completely. Norton also takes complete control of the settings thresholds.

The company explains at the bottom of a Q&A page that a 15% “coin mining fee” is charged. There are coin mining fees as well as transaction costs to transfer Ethereum. Transaction fees fluctuate due to cryptocurrency market conditions and other factors.

Users have naturally been perplexed by Norton’s shift to including the miner. “Norton should be DETECTING and killing off crypto-mining hijacking, not installing their own. And I was just about to re-install Norton 360 too, but this has literally has caused me to no longer trust Norton and their direction,” wrote a user on the Norton community forum.

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Keep reading

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