One of the world’s best-known anti-virus software makers is adding cryptocurrency mining to its products. Norton 360 offers everything from VPN, LifeLock to Ethereum mining.
Millions of people will soon be able to mine with new Norton 360 cryptocurrency features without installing any extra programs after the antivirus company announced plans to give the ability to mine crypto with Norton to its LifeLock security software.
Norton 360 claims its brand is a perfect fit for people looking to mine crypto. They no longer have to dig through the dark, scary parts of the web, where they could possibly find “unvetted code.” The company also says that it’ll store users crypto wallets in the cloud, with its own Norton Wallet.
The company pitched the idea as a safe and easy way to get into mining, an “important part of our customers’ lives”.
In a press release, Norton LifeLock – once called Symantec – said: “For years, many coin miners have had to take risks in their quest for cryptocurrency, disabling their security in order to run coin mining.”
Norton added “Our customers can mine for cryptocurrency with just a few clicks, avoiding many barriers to entry in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.”
Norton 360 itself often falsely has identify widely used mining programs as dangerous and the antivirus software often needs to be deactivated to continue the mining process.
Until now, Norton 360 claims, people who wanted to mine had to disable their security software to do it, which made things harder for them. While that somewhat seems like a problem that could at least in part be caused by Norton 360 itself, Norton does have a point that using software that comes pre-installed on your computer is easier than having to figure out mining for yourself.
But is that really what we want?
Putting aside the environmental concerns of thousands of new miners, and the potential unexpected tax implications that BleepingComputer brings up (not that those are things that should be ignored), the idea of having mining software included in a program that comes with people’s computers seems like a slippery slope.
It’s easy to imagine a company, not necessarily Norton 360 to offer cheaper or even free computers. If you just turn your unused computing cycles into a recurring source of profit for the bloatware makers subsidizing your purchase. Think Kindle with Special Offers, except instead of ads you’re taxing your computer’s GPU and sucking back electricity when you’re not using it (or, in the case of really shady manufacturers, when you are). Norton may be opening a door here that’s hard to close.
The company believe that, as it is a trusted security company, its users can be confident their computer and their tokens are in safe hands, and the Norton 360 cryptocurrency mining should be available for users in the next few months.