The Antivirus Suite Which Comes With It’s Own Virus
Last week, in between CES news blasts, you might have heard that the Norton 360 security software suite now comes with it’s own built in cryptominer to mine Etherium on your computer. Previously it was an opt in but it will soon be enabled by default, and just in case you were still willing to offer them even a tiny break for doing so, they’ve now extended this to Avira Antivirus, one of their subsidiaries.
Not only does Norton press gang your system into mining Etherium, they take a 15% cut off the top for doing so, though at least they let you keep the rest; whether you know it or not. The problem is that antivirus programs are supposed to prevent you from unwittingly mining cryptcoin for others, not actively recruit you for it. This might not seem bad at first glance, as they give you a dashboard which shows just how much money you could theoretically get if you cashed in the Etherium them made you mind.
If you haven’t run into mining before, and those that chose to pay for Norton software may well not have, it might seem to be relatively harmless but that is certainly not the case. Mining is extremely energy intensive and you will find that your electricity bill will increase thanks to Norton volunteering you to work in the mines; the cost to mine can often exceed the amount you make in a day. Mining will also cause significantly more wear and tear on your components, which you should also take into account as that laptop you expected to last for years may develop hardware issues long before you would expect.
You can choose to assume that Norton would monitor your usage and suspend mining while you are working, then again you might assume an antivirus program would not purposefully infect your computer, so you can also expect sluggish performance thanks to this as well. It may sound strange to some, but the built in Windows Defender has increased in effectiveness to about the same extent Norton’s effectiveness has plummeted. You might want to try using it for a bit instead and see what you think.
If you intend on keeping Norton but want to disable the miner, you will need to disable Norton Product Tamper Protection before you are able to disable the miner; they have no interest in making it easier for you.
Currently, the miner seems to be in opt-in status (voluntary), however, be aware that your electricity bill and hardware write-off will very likely cost you more than the benefit. Here's a tip: Remove the software and turn on Windows Defender.