One of the challenges facing the best antivirus software is to prevent protected systems from being hijacked in order to secretly exploit cryptocurrency. So, depending on your perspective, it’s ironic or it makes perfect sense for NortonLifeLock to add a cryptocurrency mining tool to their Norton 360 security suite. Maybe both.
I certainly didn’t see that coming. It's called the tool Norton Crypto, and is being implemented by a limited number of Norton 360 users of the Norton Early Adoption Program, who can use it to exploit Ethereum. But why?
"As the cryptocurrency economy continues to become a more important part of our customers' lives, we want to empower them to exploit cryptocurrency with Norton, a brand they trust," said Vincent Pilette, CEO by NortonLifeLock. "Norton Crypto is another innovative example of how we are expanding our cybersecurity platform to protect the ever-evolving digital lives of our customers."
The last few weeks have been a wild ride in the field of cryptography, although I guess you could say that’s the norm: cryptocurrencies have been prone to wild value changes. More recently, however, China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies has shaken the market, leading to sharp declines in Ethereum, Bitcoin and other digital assets.
Ethereum will also soon move to a more effective consumption participation test model, which could be effective kill graphics card mining. By extension, this could also limit the usefulness of something like Norton Crypto, regardless of value.
Either way, the tool exists and appears to be linked to all Norton 360 clients at some point. Currently, it only allows mining Ethereum. The built-in tool allows users to track their revenue and deposit it in a Norton cryptographic portfolio that is stored in the cloud.
When enabled, the tool will extract Ethereum only when a PC is idle, at least in theory (I don't have access to the tool and therefore haven't tried it). Based on the NortonLifeLock shared screenshot, there is a pause button.
I have a hard time imagining this to be a popular feature. Ethereum’s mining profitability was halved earlier this year (from late February to early March) and the recent decline has made it even less profitable, especially for people clinging to it. to older GPUs. Then there is the question of how the integrated tool works.
On the other hand, an integrated tool should make it easier for occasional users to jump into mining, if they so wish. Hopefully, NortonLifeLock makes it clear to users that they could see an increase in their electricity bill and cause additional wear and tear on the GPU hardware.