Norton turns free Avira into a crypto miner

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The American company Nortonlifelock offers a function in the anti-virus software Avira, in order to be able to mine for cryptocurrency. Users are not enthusiastic about this.

In August 2021, the American company Nortonlifelock announced that it had bought the German company Avira. Thus, Nortonlifelock includes the brands Norton, AVG, Avast, and Avira. Now Avira is given a function to turn the antivirus software into a program for crypto miners. Quite a few users are not very enthusiastic about the new feature.

Why is anti-virus software becoming more and more tools for crypto miners?      

Avira is not alone with this feature, because there has been a corresponding function in Norton 360 since 2021. As can be read in the FAQ, Avira Crypto enables the mining of the cryptocurrency Ethereum while the PC is idle. Users have to activate the function explicitly. It is unclear how high Avira’s participation in the mined coins is. At least you can use Avira for free. With Norton 360, on the other hand, users have to pay almost 75 euros per year and pay a 15 percent commission to the company when they mine for virtual currency with the antivirus software.

If you have activated the crypto mining function once, you can pause it, but you can no longer switch it off completely. The only solution to get rid of this feature permanently is to completely uninstall the antivirus software. According to Norton, it should be sufficient to deactivate the function called “Tamper Protection” and then delete the “Ncrypt.exe” file. In order to be able to work effectively, security software has to dig itself deep into the operating system and has correspond many authorizations at the system level. For example, anti-virus protection software installed at a later date can also lead to problems with Windows updates.

Third-party antivirus is said to be “snake oil”      

Some experts consider the third-party antivirus programs on the PC superfluous because there is the integrated Microsoft Windows Defender, which has been an antivirus program since the operating system version Windows 8 or newer and protects every current Windows PC. After all, the programs from Norton, GData, Kaspersky & Co. often cause problems with the operating system and software updates, since antivirus programs have to dig deep into the operating system in order to be able to do their work effectively. An anti-virus program supplied directly by the operating system manufacturer, on the other hand, is better tailored to the OS and should cause fewer problems.

In a study, some security researchers from Google describe the (paid) antivirus programs from Norton, GData, Kaspersky & Co. as “snake oil” because they promise a lot of security, but have no demonstrable effect. Tavis Ormandy, who works on Google’s Project Zero, taps into the same line. Numerous well-known, chargeable antivirus programs themselves have, in some cases, serious security gaps that can be avoided. Not a single expensive security software uses a sandbox to protect the PC and user data or mechanisms for memory randomization.

Collection of new features from Avira & Norton 360:

  • The American company Nortonlifelock has built the Avira Crypto function into its free anti-virus program Avira.
  • The security software turns into a program for crypto miners, as you can use your PC during rest times to mine for the crypto currency Ethereum.
  • The paid security software Norton 360 already has a similar function.

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