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Norton360 antivirus is getting crypto-mining as craze for cryptocurrency opens doors for malware

Norton360's new mining feature, however, will not remain entirely free of charge.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | June 3, 2021 | Updated 17:01 IST
Source: Reuters

Highlights

  • NortonLifeLock, previously Symantec, has launched mining feature in its antivirus software.
  • The Norton360 software now comes with Norton Crypto feature.
  • The need for mining using antivirus software is the spread of malicious mining programmes.

If you understand cryptocurrencies, you must be aware of the quintessential process called mining. People today are a lot more curious about cryptocurrencies than they have ever been, thanks to witty, impactful, and insightful tweets from Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Keeping aside Musk's tryst with cryptocurrencies, the biggest picture here says that with increased mining, the risks have increased manifold. And that is why, for the first time, antivirus software is adding a mining function.

NortonLifeLock announced it is adding the Norton Crypto mining function for Ethereum to the Norton360 antivirus software. This feature is going to be available to paid users of the software, but those who are a part of the early adopter programme can get their hands on it right now. According to NortonLifeLock, the need for such a feature inside antivirus software was realised with the increasing risks that mining may pose to the user and the computer because users will download "unvetted" crypto-mining programmes that may contain malware or be programmed to skim the earnings of the user.

For now, Norton Crypto only allows mining of Ethereum and within the secure environment, which, according to the company, prevents users from "opening themselves and their devices up to these pitfalls." There is a Norton Crypto Wallet that users can use to transfer their earned cryptocurrency and manage transactions. And since this wallet stores data in the cloud, there is no risk of losing it due to hard drive failure.

According to the screenshot that the company shared, the Norton Crypto feature utilises the power of the PC's graphics card, of course, to let users mine Ethereum. This means you need to have a solid machine with advanced graphics cards to be able to mine cryptocurrency, in general, as well. But Ethereum is in the process of phasing out mining that makes use of the GPU in the coming months, in which case, NortonLifeLock is expected to switch to a different cryptocurrency.

Norton360's new mining feature, however, will not remain entirely free of charge. The company is planning to charge miners a fee for mining, and an additional fee for transferring the Ethereum to another wallet. The prices are not available right now.

"As the crypto economy continues to become a more important part of our customers' lives, we want to empower them to mine cryptocurrency with Norton, a brand they trust," said Vincent Pilette, CEO of NortonLifeLock. "Norton Crypto is yet another innovative example of how we are expanding our Cyber Safety platform to protect our customers' ever-evolving digital lives."

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