Last week, NortonLifelock company revealed that its Norton 360 antivirus would bring a new tool, hitherto unprecedented for this type of program: cryptocurrency mining. Initially compatible only with ether (ETH), the function was released to users subscribed to the test program. Seeing how it worked, the huge 15% tax on all the miner’s earnings stood out.
Called “Norton Crypto”, the tool integrated in the antivirus program allows users to use the GPU of their computers in their idle time to mine ether. The company promises a safer experience, as most mining software requires that the computer be left unprotected during the activity.
The website specializing in digital security BleepingComputer had access to the feature in advance and tested Norton Crypto, revealing strengths and weaknesses of the new antivirus functionality.
Norton Crypto uses 100% of the GPU
The main positive side highlighted was the ease of using and understanding the mining program within Norton 360. Currently, only members of the Anti-Virus Early Adopter Program (EAP) can access the feature. There are other requirements, such as belonging to an English-speaking country, having a computer with a GPU of at least 3 GB of graphics memory and Windows as the operating system.
As soon as the user starts ether mining inside the antivirus, Norton Crypto will access 100% of their GPU to extract the cryptocurrency. This is one of the highlighted downsides, since the activity can shorten the life of the computer’s graphics card and even cause it to overheat, as there is no setting that allows you to control the intensity of the activity.
The BleepingComputer also warned users that the program, theoretically, should only mine when the computer is idle. But it was recorded during testing that Norton Crypto continued to indicate that it was active even during heavy gaming, even though it didn’t seem to have affected its performance. That is, it could be that the notification system has bugs.
As the antivirus creates a mining pool based on the amount of users mining ether, the gains are divided proportionally to the share of data processing. Thus, mining tends to be very slow. O BleepingComputer recorded no gain in 36 continuous hours with Norton Crypto.
This issue could be partially resolved if the active user pool grows, improving the chances of being able to process a block of data from Ethereum. Even with more computers joining the mining group, it is still difficult for Norton Crypto to compete with other large ether mining pools. In view of the high energy consumption, the BleepingComputer suggested that the activity is not very profitable. The hash rate achieved in the test was 33.5 MH/s.
Absurd administrative fees
Traditionally, most ether mining pools charge between 2% and 3% administrative fees on user earnings. Some of the larger ones, such as Spark Pool and EtherMine, charge only 1% on payments for extracted cryptocurrencies.
That said, Norton Crypto surprised by charging 15% in taxes on miners’ earnings. “Rewards in cryptocurrencies generated by the pool, if any, are directed to you based on your participation, the number of shares you receive through your contributions, and how much ether is generated as a result”, explains the company under the terms of the service .
“We will periodically transfer your share of cryptocurrencies, if any, to a digital wallet we created for you. Each of these transfers (commonly known as ‘payments’) is subject to our fee for providing Norton Crypto mining software,” Norton concluded.
With information: Bleeping Computer