Uncovering the Truth About Norton 360’s Cryptominer
Norton 360, which is among the most prominent antivirus products available in the market today, recently installed cryptocurrency mining software on its customers’ PCs. Norton 360’s parent company claims that the cloud-based service that activates the program and enables customers to gain profits from the scheme (in which the company retains 15% of any currencies mined) is an ”opt-in” service, meaning that users have to agree to enable it. Even so, most Norton users aren’t happy with having it installed at all due to various reasons, including suspicion, security concerns, and aversion to crypto. Plus, there are also worries that the cryptominer can’t be uninstalled easily.
Besides the customer complaints, Norton is also facing criticism for including a cryptocurrency mining program with its 360 security suite. Even though Norton was upfront about its plan to include the cryptomining software, the move has generated a lot of backlash from different quarters. Norton claims that the miner is reliable and secure, but there are still eyebrows raised on the ethics and mechanics behind it.
An Overview of How Cryptocurrency Works
There are only a couple of ways people make money by investing in cryptocurrency. You can purchase it and sell it to make a profit when its value increases. You can run a cryptocurrency exchange and generate a profit from every transaction. You can mine it and make enough coins to generate a profit when you sell it in the long run. Alternatively, you can invent your own cryptocurrency and make money when your idea eventually thrives.
Great as that may sound, investing in cryptocurrencies comes with many risks. For instance, you can purchase a cryptocurrency and only generate a profit if the currency’s value goes up to the point that it exceeds the fees involved in buying and selling. Whether or not this happens is anyone’s guess. Let’s just say investing in cryptocurrency is similar to investing in stocks. If you invest in safe stocks, you won’t necessarily earn big returns. On the other hand, high-risk bets can cause you to lose all of your investment.
Plus, you’ll incur the cost of mining rigs and that of electricity and cooling. Suppose you are just using your spare computer during the times that it’s idle; you probably won’t be able to generate enough money to make it worth your effort and time. However, if you dedicate machines or an entire facility, the cost of hardware and electricity may exceed the value of the coin you mine. That said, you are probably wondering if using software like Norton’s cryptominer increases your chances of making it big in the crypto industry. Continue reading to find out.
How Does Norton’s Cryptominer Work?
The software mines Ethereum into a pool that constitutes other users of Norton. The rose-colored view of this program makes it easy for non-crypto-savvy users to conveniently take their first steps into the crypto ecosystem. Because of the proliferation of dubious crypto-malware, that’s understandable –some would even say a positive development.
That said, Norton’s miner can only run if it attains the basic system requirements. As such, if you’re running under spec or an old machine, then the program won’t run at all. So, whereas the cryptominer is optional, transparent, and mostly operated by reputable software entities, that’s just about the positive aspects it has.
Norton 360’s miner charges users a 15% pool fee, which, to be frank, is ridiculous, considering that most Ethereum pools charge 1% or 2% plus a small fee for the developer of the mining software. This figure looks favorable in comparison to Norton’s 15%.
If you add transaction fees, which have been on the higher side due to network overload, it’s difficult to see how Norton’s cryptominer users can make any profits. To add to that, you also have to factor in the cost of electricity. In some instances, users can end up making losses.
Perhaps, the most significant issue with Norton’s cryptominer is that it will expose users who have no idea how crypto works. For this reason, it deserves criticism for dangling the notion of ‘free money’ in front of someone who doesn’t understand the mechanisms behind cryptomining or what they are getting themselves into. This program raises all sorts of social, ethical, and economic concerns. In fact, most people consider Norton’s move as predatory rather than opportunistic, given that the deal looks increasingly favorable for the company instead of the users. Whatever happens to a user, Norton will be laughing all the way to the bank, thanks to the 15% rip-off. In a nutshell, there’s no way for Norton to lose its cut.
Norton is cynically betting that most of its users lack the knowledge to do the analysis. It also cynically bets that most users will respond positively to an offer that appears to be an easy way of making money. Norton has to know that most of its users won’t generate any profits; in fact, they probably know that most users will actually lose money, never derive any value, and never take that step to move that tiny bit of mined Ethereum to Coinbase. The company also knows that what it is really doing is almost the same as what malware vendors do: using unsuspecting users’ resources and power to mine coins, from which they gain substantial profits.
Norton’s Cryptominer Will Soon Be Too Juicy a Scheme for Other Software Developers to Pass Up
Norton has unleashed both a disturbing and dangerous ploy with its miner. This is because while Norton is an early player in the typically bundled crypto-mining game, they definitely won’t be the last. Taking 15% in profits from users, leveraging their power and machines to do all the work, and the users catering for all the expenses is just too promising a scheme for other companies to pass up on. The moment Norton starts making the top buck, more and more technology vendors will begin embedding cryptominers in their code. We may soon be experiencing a dark harbinger of crapware.
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