Norton antivirus under fire again over crypto mining feature

Reprensentational image depitcting a mine worker toiling to mine cryptocurrency
(Image credit: Yevhen Vitte / Shutterstock)

Security company Norton is facing renewed criticism over its decision to bundle a crypto miner with its antivirus service.

The feature was introduced in June 2021, allowing Norton 360 subscribers to mine for Ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. At the time, the move was criticized as an opportunistic attempt to capitalize on the crypto boom, irrespective of the environmental impact or the financial risk to users.

Now, Norton customers have taken to Twitter to complain that the crypto miner is far more difficult to uninstall than it should be. Others suggest it should not be installed on machines in the first place without the explicit consent of the user.

Norton responds

The situation went from bad to worse after Norton replied to the original tweet, pointing out that the crypto miner is “an opt-in feature only” and is not enabled without the user’s permission, which sparked a series of angry responses.

“If it’s opt-in, why is it installed by default and not removable without getting rid of the whole antivirus software?,” asked one Twitter user. Others, meanwhile, took issue with the condescending tone of the response from customer service, and suggested Norton should stick to its lane as a cybersecurity company.

In a statement provided to The Register, Norton attempted once again to clear up the confusion:

“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 NCrpyt.exe from your computer.”

TechRadar Pro asked Norton whether it will consider making the crypto miner an optional component or making the uninstall process more accessible to customers with limited technical knowledge. The company responded only indirectly, with the same statement provided to other outlets.

Via The Register

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.