In November, Google released a new report claiming malicious cryptocurrency miners were using hacked Google Cloud accounts for mining. Now Norton 360 antivirus software appears to have found a legal way to mine cryptocurrencies using customers’ computers, Krebs on Security first reported.
While the activity is legal, that doesn’t mean it’s not very suspicious.
“Norton Crypto is a feature available in Norton 360 that you can use for mining cryptocurrency when your PC is idle. Currently, Norton Crypto is limited to users with devices that meet the system requirements,” says company FAQ page.
Norton keeps 15% of all currencies mined, but claims that cloud based service that activates the program is only “opt-in,” which means customers must agree to activate it. However, many Norton users have reported that the mining program is difficult to remove which means it is not as kosher as Norton would have us believe.
On its website, Norton tries to make it clear that it would not run the program without permission. “If you have activated Norton Crypto, but you no longer want to use the feature, you can deactivate it through the Norton Crypto dashboard,” the company says.
But since the company makes difficult to deactivate, Norton Crypto can continue its energy-intensive activity while making big profits for the company at the expense of users.
Norton Crypto will mine Ethereum crypto currency. “Norton creates a secure digital Ethereum wallet for every user,” the FAQ states. “The wallet key is encrypted & securely stored in the cloud. Only you have access to wallet.
The company also claims that the controversial program will only run on systems that meet certain hardware & software requirements. The program is already seeing negative reactions from customers & the media, with Boing Boing co-editor Cory Doctorow calling the system “f ****** wild.”
Will complaints & the public scrutiny enough to put an end to this madness?