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As internet security has become a significant issue for many organizations, many measures have been introduced. Norton, a renowned software company, has unveiled cryptominer and is facing several backlashes for integrating a cryptocurrency miner into its antivirus suite.
Launched in 1991, the company has held a large share of the antivirus market throughout the world. Despite this feat, there have been several complaints about its sluggish performance and bloatware add-ons, surrendering its dominance in the industry to other antiviruses such as BitDefender, TrendMicro, and Kaspersky.
The recent boom in cryptocurrencies within the last few years in terms of market value and steady acceptance is interesting. This increase has resulted in increased crypto mining activities, leading to massive scarcity in GPU supply that hinders DIY PC builders and gamers from having access to the graphics card for their rig.
Recently, Norton announced the introduction of its Norton antivirus cryptominer, which has received several backlashes from customers. Social media have seen increased complaints from customers about the decision to include a crypto-miner in its security app. Most of these customers are angry because the feature is being installed into their system without any permission.
However, Norton has denied the allegation through a statement on its website. According to the company, “Norton Crypto feature is not a mandatory feature and is only installed at the customer’s request.” Nevertheless, these customers also complain about the difficulty in uninstalling the feature with Norton refuting the allegations. Norton indicated that it is easy to remove the crypto feature as users must disable the inbuilt anti-tamper function.
Norton refuting the claims – Cryptominer is easy to uninstall
As the number of customers complaining about this feature increases, Norton has issued a statement rebuffing unethical and improper behavior allegations. In its press release, the company indicated that the Norton Cryptominer is an opt-in feature that customers can disable using the Norton 360 app.
Customers would temporarily shut down the tamper protection and delete NCrypt.exe from their system. For the tech games, deleting the NCrypt.exe sounds easy. The increased backlash is understandable, since most users are unfamiliar with such technology.
Norton added this recent feature in its cybersecurity app in June 2021. The intention was to allow users to mine Ethereum on their computers without requiring a technical understanding of the process. However, it seems that observers, users, and commentators aren’t happy with this move since it added bloat to the already heavy program. Besides this, some critics feel that Norton is using it as an opportunity to capitalize on the cryptocurrency boom. Furthermore, the company has also received criticism for charging 15% for any crypto generated through the crypto miner. This fee is more than what most crypto miners charge in the industry.
Understanding crypto mining
For those new to the crypto ecosystem, there is always a tendency to think about what crypto mining is all about. It might be challenging to understand Norton’s step that has contributed to the online backlash. It is understandable for those who are new because I was like you a few years ago. I will explain the fundamental of crypto mining in a simple way that even a child can understand.
Cryptomining or crypto mining is a process where I validate a cryptocurrency transaction. For instance, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin use distributed public ledgers to store every financial transaction in the blockchain. Every transaction is connected to both the previous and subsequent transactions. This further generates a chain of time-stamped records, which we call blockchain.
Since the ledger is public, every record must be authenticated to avoid fraudulent transactions. The validation process involves solving complicated mathematical problems that are extremely hard to solve. However, a network of computers known as cryptominers compete with one another to find who will solve the problem first. Any miner (computer) that first solves the problem receives the privilege to post the ledger transaction and gets a reward from their action. The reward comes in the form of cryptocurrency.
While anybody can be a miner, the energy and hardware cost to solve the mathematical problem can be a huge challenge for new miners. However, miners can hire a botnet to mine the crypto using cloud services. Today, we have several mining applications or open-source programs that help in mining cryptocurrency. These apps act as a platform for mining pools and connecting interested miners. Norton tries to do this as it includes a crypto-miner in its antivirus software to allow users to mine cryptocurrency.
Whether we like it or not, cryptocurrency has come to stay. The introduction of Norton cryptominer has received different criticism despite its acceptance by certain groups. Although the company has stated the feature is removable, we can only wait and see how long the backlash will continue and whether users will finally adapt to this new normal.