Norton Crypto, the controversial cryptomining feature of Norton 360

Pierluigi Paganini January 07, 2022

Experts warn that the popular antivirus product Norton 360 has installed a cryptocurrency miner on its customers’ computers.

Many users ignore that Norton 360 comes with a cryptomining feature, dubbed Norton Crypto, that could allow them to earn money mining Ethereum (ETH) cryptocurrency while the customer’s computer is idle. Norton keeps a 15% of the mined cryptocurrency. The feature is disabled by default and users can opt-in to profit from the mining activity, however many of them claim it is difficult to uninstall.

“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.” reported DigitalTrends.

“Norton Crypto is a feature made available in Norton 360 which you can utilize for mining cryptocurrency when your PC is idle. Currently, Norton Crypto is limited to users with devices that meet the required system requirements.” states the FAQ page for Norton Crypto. “Will Norton 360 mine my device without my permission?
No. In addition to having a device that meets system requirements, you must also turn on Norton Crypto on your device. If you have turned on Norton Crypto, but you no longer want to use the feature, you can disable it through your Norton Crypto dashboard.”

Early this year, Boing Boing co-editor Cory Doctorow warned that the mining service would run by default on systems running the Norton 360 security solution, but NortonLifeLock denied it.

NortonLifeLock also provided instructions to remove the mining program.

“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.” states the company.

The choice to add a crypto miner to a security suite is considered by many users absurd.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Norton)

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