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Cryptocurrency miners in Norton 360 and Avira

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Are anti-viruses intended to become cryptocurrency miners? As for NortonLifeLock, the answer is a big yes, the publisher has indeed integrated such tools into its Norton 360 and Avira software.

The ETH miner in Norton 360. Capture: BleepingComputer

It was last July that the Norton 360 suite quietly launched an Ethereum (ETH) miner. Called Norton Crypto, this function exploits the unused capacities of PCs (minimum configuration: an Nvidia GPU with 6 GB of RAM) to fill the pockets of its users … but also of Norton who does not forget to take a commission of 15 %, according to the FAQ.

The editor explains that this is a function to be activated (it is not by default) and that it is possible to remove Norton Crypto by temporarily disabling a protection and then transferring a file .exe. But the maneuver is not as simple as it seems and several users have reported difficulties, as security expert Brian Krebs reports.

Avira also installs a cryptocurrency miner, again Ethereum, and just like in Norton 360, the user must first authorize (Avira has been owned by NortonLifeLock since January 2021). On the other hand, the FAQ does not specify the commission that the publisher retains.

In either case, a lot of users don’t understand what a crypto miner does in their anti-virus. Some even believe that Norton should instead detect and remove these kinds of tools that are sneaking up on their machines. This is all the more so since antiviruses are used by people who are not all computer specialists, while cryptocurrencies require you to know a little about security.

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