All about Norton 360 antivirus that comes with built-in cryptocurrency miner

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The rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies has also attracted hackers and cybercriminals. Over $4 billion worth of cryptocurrency was stolen by hackers in 2021 alone, per a report by Crystal Blockchain. This has put a spotlight on the need for improved cybersecurity measures, keeping cybersecurity firms busy.

While multiple cyber defence products keep getting added to the market, antivirus developer Norton has taken its new product Norton 360 a step further. Norton 360 antivirus package not just safeguards crypto accounts from hackers and cybercriminals, but also comes with a cryptocurrency miner.

How does Norton 360 antivirus work?

Norton 360 antivirus has a built-in crypto mining tool that allows users to feely mine cryptocurrency while the antivirus maintains security. It is not turned on by default but it comes pre-packaged and is installed with your antivirus.

According to Norton, the mining process involves a ‘pool’ of Norton Crypto miners who can together deliver greater efficiencies and make the entire mining process rewarding for all users. Norton retains a percentage of the mining rewards and allows miners to keep the rest.

Norton Crypto, the mining tool integrated into the antivirus, uses the idling hardware on your PC to execute the mining process. The frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on the company’s official website indicates that the Norton Crypto will mine ETH (native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain) when the computer it is installed on is idle.

In order to be able to run this mining tool, a computer must meet certain hardware requirements, such as an NVIDIA graphics card with a minimum of 6GB in available memory. A secure wallet is created by Norton to store the ETH being mined on your system, and the access key is safely stored on a cloud in encrypted form. This ensures that only the user has access to the wallet.

The mining service was first offered by NortonLifeLock, the mothership of Norton, in May 2021 but did not receive the recognition it hoped to achieve. On January 4, a tweet by Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing pointed out that the Norton 360 antivirus would run the crypto mining tool by default and retain 15 percent of the commission.

However, NortonLifeLock later clarified that the mining tool does not get activated on any device unless a user has agreed to share 15 percent with the company (this is known as ‘opting-in.’)

Reactions to the new feature have been mixed with some users suggesting the company should have focused on security and not crypto mining.

As attacks grow more frequent and technologies evolve, it is critical that adequate measures be taken to prevent further breaches.

Users must bear in mind that it is crucial to consider the threat of cyberattacks on their crypto holdings and take appropriate measures to ensure the privacy and security of crypto accounts across devices.

(Edited by : Abhishek Jha)