Note: We have added a response from Norton at the end of the post.
Norton, a large and sometimes controversial cybersecurity company, has recently released Norton Crypto as part of Norton 360, which allows users to mine the Ethereum cryptocurrency while their computer remains idle.
However, some are complaining, claiming that the company does not give them the option to uninstall the program.
@Norton @TheHackersNews @WIRED @CondeNast @hacks4pancakes @SwiftOnSecurity
Norton is installing a Cryptocurrency miner called Norton Crypto (NCrypt.exe) on end user systems with out so much as a dialogue during the install of its security product.
— Maxius (@mAxius) December 31, 2021
Norton Crypto does not run full-time in the background. Users can manually switch it on and off. The users are put into a pool with other Norton Crypto users to improve efficiency, and everyone shares the rewards of the mining. It is meant to be a simple and safe way to mine Ethereum.
However, according to mAxius and other users, there is no way to fully opt out of the program, and you actually have to dig into NCrypt.exe in your computer’s directory to delete it.
That may not seem like a big deal, but Norton has a rocky relationship with its user base, and the company has seen controversy in the past for poor transparency and not entirely deleting files when uninstalled.
Norton Crypto is not compatible with every system, as it has specific hardware requirements to run. Users will need an Nvidia graphics card with at least 6GB of memory and at least Windows 7 and newer. Norton Crypto does not support MacOS or Windows 10 S.
Norton also takes a sizable cut of the cryptocurrency once it is mined. The company takes 15% off the top as well as variable transaction fees when you move the crypto to a different wallet. Considering users are already paying to use the service, it seems like a solid takeaway for Norton.
Beyond the difficult method for opting out of Norton Crypto, there doesn’t seem to be any major security concerns as of yet. If you have Norton 360 and don’t want to use the mining feature, just make sure it is off. Just keep an eye on it to make sure no one else is using your hardware for their own gain.
Digital Trends has reached out to Norton for comment and received the following response:
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 NCrypt.exe from your computer. There is a coin mining fee to use Norton Crypto, but we do not charge users transaction fees once the cryptocurrency is mined. The transaction fee that users may see is the traditional Etherium network fee that is associated with digital currency movement, and not paid to NortonLifeLock. Additional information can be found on our Norton Crypto FAQ page here.