Categories
Security

Once Opted Into Norton Crypto, You Can’t Easily Uninstall

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.

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Categories
Game

Android problems? Uninstall Pikmin Bloom

This week a series of Android issues have been connected to the new Niantic app Pikmin Bloom. Users have reported issues appearing on their Android phone after installing Pikmin Bloom, and disappearing once Pikmin Bloom was uninstalled once more. We do not currently know for certain what the root issue is, but uninstalling Pikmin Bloom seems to fix a variety of problems, from massive battery drain to the apparent blocking of notifications from other apps.

Our experience so far

Our first couple of days with Pikmin Bloom seemed to go well. The game wasn’t particularly fantastic at launch, and our Pikmin Bloom first impressions feature reflected the game’s relative lack of instant gratification as such. This game may have been built on the back of Pokemon GO, but at launch it appears to be a very different monster.

Part of the game allows the user to interact with Pikmin creatures using a device’s camera. I tried this feature on a Google Pixel 6 running Android 12. It was quite unstable – surprisingly so, given the high level of accuracy delivered by a similar feature on Pokemon GO.

This game requires that users install Google Fit to work. It encourages the user to be healthy, to get out and walk around, and to use one’s phone to spread the cheer of Pikmin around the world with persistent tracking of flower elements on a virtual map.

At launch, this game used more battery life than any other app on the Pixel 6 I was using. It would seem that I was not alone in finding Pikmin a giant battery drain. It was only after I’d uninstalled the game and found a batch of notifications from other apps waiting for me that I realized the other issues the app had caused.

Issues linked to Pikmin Bloom

If we take a peek at a comment made on Reddit by ElegyD today, we see a succinct list of issues that a number of Android users have experienced at the launch of Pikmin Bloom.

Notifications stopped appearing while other apps weren’t fully open. Google Play Store became finicky – appearing unable to “Update All” apps, appearing unable to download apps all the way to 100%. Android Auto (wireless) stopped functioning. Significant battery drain – far more than Pokemon GO, with its similar background tracking features for on-the-go gameplay.

If we take a peek at comments from Antelmo24 and other Google Pixel 6 users, we see similar issues, and similar solutions. We see similar issues with Google Pixel 4 XL users (as shown in the image above, from the official Pikmin Bloom Community page), also running Android 12.

Theories for issue

In Android 12, there is a feature called App Standby Bucket. This feature should, by all means, push Pikmin Bloom down to a Restricted Bucket as it “consumes a great deal of system resources, or may exhibit undesirable behavior.”

Instead, it may be that Pikmin Bloom pushes other apps to lower buckets as it requires such an intense amount of resources. As Google Developers suggests, “the system places your app in a less restrictive bucket if the user interacts directly with your app.”

Once Pikmin Bloom is running and notifications are halted for other apps, notifications appear again once the user interacts directly with said app. It might very well be that Pikmin Bloom’s location tracking has kicked the bucket, so to speak. We won’t know for certain until we’ve done some additional testing – we shall see!

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Categories
Computing

How to Uninstall Apps on a Mac

Sometimes we can use computers for days, weeks, or even years before we run across what seems like a simple task, only to realize that we have no clue how to do it. You may know this feeling if you’ve recently discovered there are some programs on your Mac that you want to delete, for example.

While MacOS has many benefits, it isn’t always obvious how to get rid of apps that you no longer need, and the operating system doesn’t come with an instruction manual to tell you what to do. Here’s how to uninstall apps on a Mac and as well as what to do with apps you can’t delete.

Uninstalling apps downloaded from the App Store

This method applies to pretty much any app you’ve downloaded from the Mac App Store. If you’re looking to uninstall one of these apps from your system, here’s the quickest and most efficient way to go about it.

Step 1: Head over to the Dock and look for an option that says Launchpadthe icon shows a silver rocket ship. You can also find it through the dedicated Launchpad key (F4, or the button with the rows of icons on the Touch Bar) or by doing a four-finger pinch together on the Apple trackpad.

Step 2: Once open, Launchpad will replace any current windows with a grid of apps. You can view, open, and rearrange apps here if you want, but for now you’re mostly using Launchpad as a tool for deleting unwanted software.

Step 3: Click the app you want to delete and hold until the icon starts to jiggle. If you’ve ever used iOS, you know what this is about — the jiggle motion indicates that an app is ready to be moved or deleted.

Step 4: When the icon starts jiggling, you should see an “X” appear in the upper-left corner of each icon. Now, simply click this button and confirm your decision with the Delete button to rid your machine of the app in question.

That’s it! Also, don’t worry about accidentally deleting an app that you want to keep. You can reinstall any of the apps you’ve deleted — without having to pay for them again — by going to the App Store and downloading them as you normally would.

How to uninstall apps that aren’t in Launchpad

If you don’t see the app you want to get rid of in the Launchpad, don’t worry! There’s still probably a way to uninstall it. However, you’ll have to work a little harder this time around. Here’s what you do.

Step 1: First, click Finder in the Dock — the icon resembles a smiling computer screen. Afterward, either search for the app that you want to get rid of, or head over to the Applications folder and scroll through until you find the app in question.

Step 2: Check to see if the app has its own folder. If it does, select this folder to look inside. Many larger or older apps are typically bundled with an Uninstaller, which will get rid of the app for you. If the app folder includes one of these Uninstallers, click it. This will automatically run the Uninstaller, which will give you a unique set of instructions for deleting the software.

TrashStep 3: If the app doesn’t have its own folder or an Uninstaller, you still have options. Click the application icon in Finder, hold it, and drag it to your Dock. Toward one end of your Dock you should see a wastebasket icon, which signifies the Trash. Drag the app icon here, and it should transport the app to the Trash.

You can program your Trash to auto-delete after a certain amount of time, or you can Ctrl + Click the Trash and select Empty Trash to delete the contents immediately.

Apps that you can’t remove

Keep in mind that there are a number of apps that you will not be able to uninstall. These are apps that are part of MacOS, play an integral role in Apple services, and generally represent the Apple brand to such an extent that Apple won’t let you get rid of them.

These include Safari, Mail, and many of the other apps that naturally appear in your Dock.

While there is no getting rid of these apps, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to keep looking at them. If you want to pretend that they aren’t there, Ctrl + Click these apps in the Dock, then, select Options in the resulting menu and click Remove from Dock. This is a nice little way to clear up space in your Dock, even if you can’t permanently delete this software.

In Launchpad, you can also put the icons into folders to get them out of the way. Just like on your iPhone, click and hold an icon, then drag it over another icon. This will automatically create a folder that you can then drag other icons into. You can also just drag the icon to a different page of apps to clean things up a bit.

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Categories
Security

RIP Adobe Flash. Here’s How to Uninstall It

With the end of 2020 comes the end of the era for one of the web’s most contentious browser plug-ins. Support for Adobe Flash officially ended on December 31, 2020, so that means it’s time to uninstall Flash from your device.

Flash was pivotal in enabling video and audio playback in the early internet of the 2000s, as it allowed developers an easy way to embed videos or create games that could be played in a browser. But it was also heartily criticized along the way, both for being a resource hog and for having terrible security, with a series of security risks that needed regular patches.

These criticisms came loudest in 2010, when Apple founder Steve Jobs published an open letter called “Thoughts on Flash,” in which he outlined many issues with the software and said it would not be allowed to run on Apple products. Covering security issues, poor performance especially on mobile devices, and its excessive use of battery power, Jobs’ missive proved to be the beginning of the end for Flash.

Flash has since been replaced in its functions by HTML5 in 2014, which allows embedding of audio and video with any additional browser plugin needing to be installed.

Now, with Flash no longer supported, it’s time to remove it from your device if you haven’t already. To uninstall Flash from a Mac as described by 9to5Mac, you can go to the Utilities section and select Adobe Flash Player Install Manager, then select Uninstall.

Windows 10 users should find that Flash was automatically uninstalled in the October 27, 2020 update of Windows 10.

Even though Flash is gone, the good news is that some classic pieces of early internet culture which were built on Flash won’t be lost. The Internet Archive has announced it will be saving and emulating Flash animations to make them viewable to browsers without Flash installed. So you’ll still be able to view and enjoy such classics from the ancient world as Badger Badger Badger Badger Mushroom Mushroom or Peanut Butter Jelly Time, should you feel the need to be catapulted straight back to the bizarre and somehow surprisingly wholesome realm of the early 2000s internet.

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