NortonLifeLock, the cybersecurity company you probably know better as Symantec, is now rolling out a cryptocurrency mining feature for Norton 360 security suite users. This option, till now not exactly available for personal PC and consumers, has been made available to a select group of Norton 360, though NortonLifeLock expects this to roll out for all users in the coming months. Part of this new feature set, called Norton Crypto, is the crypto wallet service called Norton Crypto Wallet. This will sit alongside the Norton Secure VPN, anti-virus and malware protection and smart firewall tools and is expected to be available for Norton 360 Standard and Norton 360 Deluxe variants of the security suite. The subscription prices for the Norton 360 suites start at Rs 799 per year. At this time, NortonLifeLock is specifically mentioning that Ethereum will be available for mining on personal PCs.
Cryptocurrency mining has often been a risky proposition for those who do it on personal PCs and computing devices. To run mining, the security software often have to be disabled, which makes these systems vulnerable to ransomware, malware and virus injections. With Norton Crypto integrated in Norton 360 now, NortonLifeLock is negating the need to disable security software on PCs to start crypto mining. Secondly, users have often lost access to their crypto coins and earnings because of storage failures on the PC or having lost their passwords. By adding your crypto coins to the Norton Crypto Wallet, that also gets negated because this is stored in the cloud, and can be accessed at any time—this isn’t dependent on hardware identity, such as a hard drive.
“We are proud to be the first consumer Cyber Safety company to offer coin miners the ability to safely and easily turn the idle time on their PCs into an opportunity to earn digital currency. With Norton Crypto, our customers can mine for cryptocurrency with just a few clicks, avoiding many barriers to entry in the cryptocurrency ecosystem,” says Gagan Singh, chief product officer at NortonLifeLock. The company expects to roll this feature out for all Norton 360 users in the coming weeks. NortonLifeLock is specifically mentioning that Ethereum will be available for mining on personal PCs, but it is expected that more coins will be supported in the coming weeks.
The problem with making crypto mining simpler for the consumer masses could very well pose long term problems. There is the environmental concern about energy usage that many crypto coins guzzle and there is also the issue of working with possible bloatware and malware, for a share of the earnings. Think of it as an ad-supported deals app, where in return for using your electricity and CPU cycles, you’ll get some benefits. Mind you, there is still the chance you could be dealing with some pretty dodgy crypto mining systems, which may still put your data as well as hardware and software at risk. Then there is the issue of taxation as well, guidelines for which while not very clear in India at this time, still could come within the umbrella of earnings or a source of income. NortonLifeLock may have made a few things easier, but this could also take excitable consumers down a path very unknown.