Norton is now bundling a crypto mining component with its Norton 360 antivirus range by default. The crypto mining component is currently available only in the U.S. but, according to Norton, it “will be made available to other regions soon”. Norton’s announcement covering the inclusion of the crypto mining component states that it is disabled by default but some users are reporting across forums that this is not the case. According to Norton, the crypto mining component also remains dormant unless the PC meets a rigid set of hardware requirements:
- Graphics card – Nvidia cards with minimum 6 GB memory
- Processor – 1 GHz
- RAM – 2 GB (minimum of 512 MB RAM required for Recovery Tool)
- Hard disk space – 300 MB of available hard disk space
The Nvidia GPU with minimum 6 GB memory requirement will probably disqualify many users. However, in this writer’s opinion, all of this is beside the point. The very fact that a potentially unwanted program (PUP) would be bundled with antivirus software is completely contrary to the software’s core concept. Antivirus software is supposed to help protect users from this type of potentially unwanted program and not force it down users’ throats. I cannot imagine a more perverse act. Truly despicable.
All earnings from the mining will be pooled with each participant sharing in the rewards:
Norton Crypto allows the customers to mine for Ethereum, a popular cryptocurrency, more safely during their PC’s idle time. They will operate within a “pool” of Norton Crypto miners, delivering greater efficiencies and enabling all users to share in the rewards. Once earned, they can track their earnings in their Norton Crypto Wallet, which is stored in the cloud so it cannot be lost due to hard drive failure.
However, Norton will take a 15% commission off the top of total earnings and users will be charged transaction costs for transfers:
There are coin mining fees as well as transaction costs to transfer Ethereum. The coin mining fee is currently 15% of the crypto allocated to the miner.
- Read Norton’s announcement in full: Introducing Norton Crypto!
Unsurprisingly, Avira, which was acquired by Norton in late 2020, is also bundling a crypto-miner with its antivirus products:
Avira Crypto is a free feature of Avira Security platforms and is currently available to Avira Free Security, Avira Antivirus Pro, Avira Internet Security and Avira Prime users1 in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. We will be adding additional countries in the future ~ source
It’s already apparent that Microsoft Defender is having a negative impact on the use of third-party antivirus solutions and this, along with the fact that third-party antivirus solutions have tended to become more and more bloated as vendors add more and more (useless?) components in an attempt to outdo one another could, in my opinion, potentially signify the beginning of the end for third-party antivirus. Norton’s actions certainly will not help the cause.