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The company announced cryptocurrency mining in June as a useful way for Norton 360 users to earn extra cash from their idle graphics cards. The tool, called Norton Crypto, mines Ethereum and gives users an 85% cut. The rest goes to Norton Life Lock
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However, cryptocurrency miners are facing backlash after some Twitter users (opens in a new window) noticed that Norton 360 software forcibly installs miners on computers with a program called NCrypt.exe, which is difficult to install (opens in a new window).
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The tweet led to some users slamming the company for installing the alleged bloatware open in a new window. Meanwhile, others wonder why Norton LifeLock encourages users to destroy power mining Ethereum.
Security researcher Chris Vickery tweeted (opens in new window) that Norton is increasing energy consumption worldwide, costing customers more in electricity consumption than mining, yet allowing Norton to make huge profits.
In a statement, Norton LifeLock notes that the tool is disabled by default “Norton Crypto is an optional feature only and is not enabled without the user’s permission,” a company spokesperson said. “If users have Norton Crypto turned on but no longer want to use the feature, it can be turned off using Norton 360. More information can be found on our Norton Crypto FAQ page (opens in a new window).”
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It is also important to note that cryptocurrency mining only works on computers with an AMD or Nvidia graphics card and at least 6 GB of video memory.
However, Norton LifeLock declined to say whether it would make it easier to remove the NCrypt.exe program for client systems. In the meantime, a company official has released a workaround (opens in a new window) that disables the “Norton Tamper Protection” feature in the antivirus program’s settings, after which you can delete the NCrypt.exe program.
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Since October 2017 I have covered a variety of topics including consumer electronics, cyber security, social media, networking and gaming. Before working there, I was a foreign correspondent in Beijing for over five years, covering Asia’s tech scene. Here’s the truth about crypto miners that Norton Antivirus / Some online complaints don’t, but they do. That doesn’t mean it’s a good deal
Norton has faced criticism for including a cryptominer with its Norton 360 security software. Activists like Cory Doctrow claim the company “cleverly installs cryptomining software on your computer” and siphons off a commission on profits, as do PCMag, Krebs of Security and the outlet. Digital Trends also wrote about users trying to uninstall it While there is a little more truth to these claims, we dug it ourselves and it was blown out of proportion
Last summer, Norton publicly announced that it was adding a cryptominer to its Norton 360 security suite, positioned as a safer alternative to trying to install sophisticated, “unverified” mining software from the Internet. It was initially only available to a limited number of users, but now appears to be available to anyone who installs the software — but in the six months since the announcement, there hasn’t been much talk about the software until this week.
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Now, it’s suddenly become the center of a backlash, with some Twitter users accusing Norton of installing cryptominers on users’ computers without warning. From a technical point of view, this is true – my colleague Sean Hollister installed a copy of Norton 360 for himself and found that the mining program NCrypt.exe was included in the program directory.
However, this does not mean that Norton will automatically start mining on your computer, as some believe The Norton FAQ says that it won’t be mine without permission and that “a device that meets the system requirements must also have Norton Crypto turned on on your device.” Sean said that as far as he could tell, it seemed true; After he installed Norton, the feature stealthily did not activate It did not open until he asked for it
TL; DR is yes, Norton installs a cryptominer with its software without making it clear during the initial setup process. But it won’t do anything unless you specifically choose to, so this isn’t a situation where you install a security suite and immediately start snooping around your computer with crypto splashing in the background.
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In an email you can remove NCrypt.exe completely by temporarily disabling Norton’s anti-hole protection feature, and then deleting the executable. We’ve confirmed this ourselves, and it may be good news for anyone thinking of enabling the feature on Norton Remote.
We asked Norton if it would promise that the feature would always be logged, and spokesperson Spring Harris told us that it requires special hardware and user consent for the feature to work. We are transparent about how our software works on user devices. There is no intention of changing this. “
None of this is to defend Norton’s inclusion of Cryptominer in its security suite – it’s just to clarify what it does and doesn’t do.
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As mentioned earlier, we installed Norton ourselves to get first-hand experience with the miner Although the service can be registered, Norton isn’t hard to find—when Sean installed the software, there was a big green banner at the top of its control panel that read “Turn Your Computer’s Idle Time Into Money.” Clicking the “Show me how” button gives you a slideshow about the feature, a big “Agree and get started” button, and some small text telling you that the feature you’re turning on is Norton Crypto.
Norton promises that it will only be mine when you’re not using your computer for anything else (and you can manually pause it if needed).
Once you turn on Norton Crypto it will set up a wallet for you and immediately start using your computer’s GPU to mine Ethereum (this requires an Nvidia or AMD card with at least 6GB of memory as per system requirements). Any earnings will be periodically deposited into the wallet set for you and when you reach the minimum threshold, you will be able to withdraw your earnings to Coinbase.
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Norton has a passion for getting people to use the feature As BleepingComputer pointed out when testing the software last year, Norton takes a percentage of the earnings you earn from mining. Without going too deep into how mining works, Norton Crypto’s Terms of Service (PDF) states that it runs a mining pool that pools everyone’s computing power to increase the likelihood that a block will be mined—when that happens, everyone who contributed power participates. do. Prize This is the prize from which Norton takes his cut
Pool operators often charge a cut or fee to get everyone together However, the fees are usually around 1 or 2 percent, which is obviously quite low And, of course, there’s the elephant in the room: Everyone who uses Norton’s software mines already pays the company a subscription fee for its security software (and after we buy a copy, we
The rewards of mining are good enough that you can ignore the higher fees, or consider it a convenient cost to figure out how to join a pool yourself (which is usually a pretty technical process). We tested it ourselves by measuring power consumption with a Kill-A-Watt power meter The result? With the current Ethereum block mining difficulty and cost, we’ve also fully broken down what we’ve gained for what we’ve paid for the power. In real numbers, overnight mining on an RTX 3060 Ti cost Ethereum $0.66 cents and off-peak electricity cost $0.66. Norton took all the benefits
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Policy against holding cryptocurrency, we will immediately remove the fraction of ETH that we won in our test.
Even if you have powerful mining hardware and cheap electricity, Norton’s model can be a bargain It deposits your Ethereum coins in your Norton Crypto wallet, but if you want to use it or exchange it for fiat currency, you have to cash it out – currently, the only option is to transfer it to a Coinbase account. However, doing so will incur a transaction fee (also known as a gas fee), which is charged by the Ethereum network itself. This may mean that you have to mine a lot of crypto before it makes financial sense to withdraw it from your Norton wallet.
The deal looks pretty good from Norton’s end, though — as is often the case with crypto, scale matters here. The feature may not be particularly beneficial to any individual when using it