NortonLifeLock is in trouble after people discovered its antivirus software bundled a hard-to-delete cryptocurrency mining tool.
In June, Norton introduced a cryptocurrency miner as an easy way for their users to earn extra cash from their idle graphics card. Norton Crypto, the tool’s name, can mine Ethereum and gives you 85%, while the rest goes to NortonLifeLock.
But criticism is currently being thrown against Norton Crypto after a couple of Twitter users figured out that the Norton 360 software automatically installs the mining tool on PCs via a program named NCrypt.exe, which users are finding very hard to uninstall.
“This is fucking wild. Norton “Antivirus” now sneakily installs cryptomining software on your computer, and then SKIMS A COMMISSION,” says Canadian-British journalist Cory Doctorow.
The tweet shocked some users to the point that they accused the company of installing bloatware. Others are speculating why NortonLifeLock would encourage their customers who have paid for a product, in this case an Antivirus software license, to pay for an additional electric bill, a waste of energy, to say the least, through Ethereum mining.
Another statement from security researcher Chris Vickery says, “Norton is pretty much amplifying energy consumption worldwide, costing their customers more in electricity use than the customer makes on the mining, yet allowing Norton to make a ton of profit.”
According to a statement from NortonLifeLock, the tool is, by default, off. “Norton Crypto is an opt-in feature only and is not enabled without user permission,” announced a company spokesperson.
He added that “If users have turned on Norton Crypto but no longer wish to use the feature, it can be disabled through Norton 360. Additional information can be found on our Norton Crypto FAQ page.”
Notably, the cryptocurrency miner only works on PCs with AMD or Nvidia graphics cards and at least 6GB of video memory.
While it’s not clear whether NortonLifeLock will make the removal process easier for customers, a company employee provided an inside look about how to delete NCrypt.exe following disabling their “Norton Tamper Protection” function in settings, after which users are able to remove this pesky program from their computer.