Norton 360, one of the most popular antivirus products on the market, is facing criticisms for its decision late last year to install Ethereum mining software on its customers’ PCs. While the company claims the crypto miner is secure and reliable, the move has raised concerns about the ethics behind it. The latest cloud-based service activates the mining program which allows customers to profit but for that to happen users have to agree to enable it. In the meantime, Norton’s Ethereum miner charges 15 percent of the pool fee. However, many of the Norton users have complained about the program being installed in the first place citing possible security concerns, suspicions, or environmental concerns among others. Activists like Cory Doctorow have even claimed that the company ‘sneakily installs crypto mining software on your computer’ and then ‘skims a commission on profits.’ In fact, some of the Twitter users have also accused the cybersecurity company of installing a crypto miner on users’ computers without any warning. This is fucking wild. Norton “Antivirus” now sneakily installs cryptomining software on your computer, and then SKIMS A COMMISSION. https://t.co/6s2otyCd78 — Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) January 4, 2022 Meanwhile, Norton’s FAQ says that it won’t mine without permission and that ‘in addition to having a device that meets system requirements, you must also turn on Norton Crypto on your device.’ This means that the mining program is turned off by default. Clarifying this, a company spokesperson stated that users can completely remove NCrypt.exe by temporarily turning off Norton’s tamper protection feature, and then deleting the executable. On being asked, if Norton would make a pledge that the requires the latest feature to be always an opt-in, the spokesperson replied: “The feature requires special device hardware and user consent to function. We are transparent about how our software performs on user devices and we have no intention of changing this.”
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