In a surprise move, one of the world’s best-known anti-virus software makers is adding cryptocurrency mining to its products.
Norton 360 customers will have access to an Ethereum mining feature in the “coming weeks”, the company said.
Cryptocurrency “mining” works by using a computer’s hardware to do complex calculations in exchange for a reward.
It is not clear what the business model for Norton Crypto is, or if Norton will take a cut of earnings.
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.”
That is true, in so far as anti-virus software packages such as Norton itself often falsely identify widely used mining programs as dangerous, and the antivirus software often needs to be deactivated to continue the mining process.
Norton also warns of “allowing unvetted code on their machines” and the danger of storing earnings on a hard drive which could fail.
Totally not sketchy at all. /sarcasm
As the article points out, cryptocurrency mining has serious implications for the energy usage of end-users, the lifespan of their computers, and — in the USA — taxes liable.
It looks to me like they are enticing people who’ve had Norton 360 trial software preinstalled on their computer to cough up for a subscription with the promise of free money in return. Makes me wonder what state the company’s finances are in.