Your next laptop might be equipped with a cryptominer, courtesy of Norton


Ethereum mining is coming in a perhaps unexpected place: Norton 360, the antivirus software many readers will experience when they install new computers for their parents (via BipComputer). In its press release, Norton says its brand is a perfect fit: People looking to mine for crypto won’t have to dig into the dark and spooky parts of the web, where they could potentially find “unverified code.”

The company also says it will store users’ crypto wallets in the cloud, along with its own Norton Wallet. Regarding the actual use of their earnings, a Norton spokesperson said The edge there will be a button that will allow users to “pull money into Coinbase”.

Until now, Norton says, people who wanted to exploit had to turn off their security software to do so, which made it harder for them. While this seems to be a bit of a problem that could at least in part be caused by Norton 360 itself, Norton does have a point that it’s easier to use software preinstalled on your computer than to have to figure it out. mining by yourself.

But is this really what we want? Putting aside the environmental concerns of thousands of new miners and the possible unexpected tax implications that BipComputer raises (not that these are things that should be ignored), the idea of ​​having mining software included in a program that comes with people’s computers seems like a slippery slope.

It’s easy to imagine a company, not necessarily Norton, offering cheaper or even free computers if you simply turn your unused IT cycles into a recurring source of profit for the bloatware makers who subsidize your purchase. Think of the Kindle with special offers, except instead of advertisements, you’re taxing your computer’s GPU and harvesting power when you’re not using it (or, in the case of really shady manufacturers, when you’re running it). ‘use). Norton may be opening a door here that is difficult to close.

While Norton specifically calls Ethereum in his blog post, he said CNN he was considering letting people mine other “notorious crypto currencies” later. The company is letting the first users in on Thursday and hopes to roll it out to everyone “in the coming weeks.”

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