Antivirus jumps shark. Cryptomining!

Well, holy cow. Now two different antivirus packages include code to use their hosts’ idle cycles to mine cryptocurrency. Users must opt in to both. But still, if computers were horses we’d say they had parasites and treat them with horse paste (aka Invermectin) to get rid of them. These antivirus packages give our computers parasites.

What’s wrong with this?

  1. Power usage. Power costs money and emits carbon dioxide. Modern computers burn less power when idle. Listen to your laptop’s fan if you don’t believe that. Cryptocurrency’s ridiculously high power requirements are bad enough for the life of the world without spreading out the power consumption. You’ll be lucky if you break even: will you mine enough cryptocoin to pay your extra power bill?
  2. Attack vulnerability. The whole point of antivirus packages is to reduce the risk of successful attacks coming from criminals on the internet. There are many ways to do that. Making ordinary computers used by ordinary folks more attractive to cybercreeps is not one of those ways. Installing software that increases the machine’s attack surface is not one either.
  3. Complexity. The point of end-user-focused antivirus packages is making security possible for people who are not like me: people who want to use their computers without thinking about them too much. This asks people to make questionable decisions while dangling illusory riches before their eyes.

Avoid Norton 360 and Avira.

“Jump the shark?” WTF? Read this.

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