The anti-virus giant Norton is being criticized for automatically installing cryptominer on their users’ devices that mine Ethereum.
Norton 360 is popular antivirus software. However, it has come under fire because it is installing a cryptocurrency mining program on users’ devices.
According to reports, the cryptocurrency miner was included in the Norton antivirus in June last year to help Norton 360 users earn some extra bucks from their graphics card. The tool is called Norton Crypto, and it mines Ethereum. Users can keep 85% of the cut while the remaining goes to NortonLifeLock.
Norton 360 Equipped with Hard-to-Delete Crytpominer?
According to Norton, the parent firm behind Norton360, the cloud-based services responsible for activating the antivirus program have offered users an option to profit from the scheme. Still, they have to agree to enable it.
However, many users have complained that the mining tool embedded in the antivirus software is hard to delete and causes troubles with the device. A Twitter user first posted about the issue claiming that Norton 360 program has installed the mining tool on his computer through a program called NCrypt.exe that cannot be uninstalled.
“This is fucking wild. Norton “Antivirus” now sneakily installs cryptomining software on your computer, and then SKIMS A COMMISSION,” Twitter user Cory Doctorow said (@doctorow).
About Norton 360’s Opt-in FeatureSOFT
Tempe, Ariz.-based NortonLifeLock Inc. owns Norton 360. The company acquired identity theft protection firm LifeLock in 2017 from Symantec Corp. and renamed it NortonLifeLock in 2019. This feature is now part of the Norton 360 services package.
As per the FAQ posted on the company’s website, the new feature Norton Crypto will mine for Ethereum cryptocurrency when the user’s computer is idle and run on those systems only that meet its hardware/software requirements, which included 6GB memory at least and NVIDIA graphics card.
“Norton creates a secure digital Ethereum wallet for each user. The key to the wallet is encrypted and stored securely in the cloud. Only you have access to the wallet,” the FAQ read.
NortonLifeLock has offered Norton Crypto as an opt-in feature, and it doesn’t get enabled without user permission, as per the company.
“If users have turned on Norton Crypto but no longer wish to use the feature, it can be disabled by temporarily shutting off ‘tamper protection’ (which allows users to modify the Norton installation) and deleting NCrypt.exe from your computer.”
When Norton tweeted that Norton Crypto is an opt-in feature, the company faced severe backlash.
“If it’s opt-in, why is it installed by default and not removable without getting rid of the whole antivirus software?,” one Twitter user inquired.
Others opined that this feature should not be a part of an antivirus tool. To clear the confusion, Norton released another statement.
“Norton Crypto is an opt-in feature only and is not enabled without user permission. If users have turned on Norton Crypto but no longer wish to use the feature, it can be disabled through Norton 360 by temporarily shutting off ‘tamper protection’ (which allows users to modify the Norton installation) and deleting NCrpyt.exe from your computer.”
Norton is pretty much amplifying energy consumption worldwide, costing their customers more in electricity use than the customer makes on the mining, yet allowing Norton to make a ton of profit.
It's disgusting, gross, and brand-suicide.
— Chris Vickery (@VickerySec) January 6, 2022
How to get rid of Norton cryptominer?
According to Norton’s community page, following the below-mentioned instructions can disable Norton Crypto on the device.
- Go to the N360 dashboard and open device security
- Next click on “settings”
- Next disable “Norton Tamper Protection” (this will ask for a time frame, select 15 min)
- Navigate to /Program Files/Norton Security/engine/(product version)
There you will find NCrypt.exe and you can delete it. Norton Tamper Protection will turn back on in 15 min or you can do it manually.