NortonLifeLock has launched a new feature on its cyber security product that will enable users to safely mine cryptocurrency rather than letting nefarious coin miners do the same thing through malware infection.
Called Norton Crypto, the feature will roll out to Norton 360 users on the company's early adopter program. The product will mine the Ethereum cryptocurrency using a computer's graphics card (GPU).
Gagan Singh, chief product officer at NortonLifeLock, said with Norton Crypto, users could "mine for cryptocurrency with just a few clicks, avoiding many barriers to entry in the cryptocurrency ecosystem."
Any Ethereum mined Norton Crypto then transfers to the company's secure cloud-based wallet. Norton said this was more secure than storing it on a users' hard drive where it could get lost or stolen by hackers.
Norton didn't say if all devices mine independently or operate as part of a pool. Working as part of a mining pool increases the chance of earning cryptocurrency. Many crypto coin mining pool operators take a small fee to help run the pool — it's unclear if Norton will do the same with this feature.
Virtually all crypto-mining software is flagged by antivirus products as being suspect, the new feature will enable users to mine without having to disable security measures on the device. In the past, users would need to disable anti-virus software to mine cryptocurrency, putting devices at risk.
"As the crypto economy continues to become a more important part of our customers' lives, we want to empower them to mine cryptocurrency with Norton, a brand they trust," said Vincent Pilette, CEO of NortonLifeLock. "Norton Crypto is yet another innovative example of how we are expanding our Cyber Safety platform to protect our customers' ever-evolving digital lives."
Users running the software may need to alert the IRS, as any cryptocurrency made from this must be reported on tax returns as income.
Users will only initially be able to mine Ethereum, this may expand to other cryptocurrencies in the future. "While the company will start slow, with a focus on helping customers safely mine Ethereum, NortonLifeLock is considering adding reputable crypto currencies in the future," the company told CNN.
Norton Crypto is expected to become available to all Norton 360 customers in the coming weeks.
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Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.
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