Avira Adds Crypto Mining Software to Cybersecurity Solution

Shutterstock image of the Avira logo
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

One of the world’s most popular free antivirus applications, Avira, now includes a cryptocurrency mining tool embedded in its software solutions, joining Norton 360 in embedding Ethereum mining code. The module is present in Avira’s entire product stack, from its free antivirus through paid security solutions. Avira also notes that usage of the mining module is completely opt-in. And according to the company, it will only take advantage of unused processing cycles on user machines that satisfy the module’s system requirements. 

Once enabled, the “Avira Crypto” module in Avira’s free antivirus suite connects the user with an Ethereum mining pool, where they can contribute to distributed PoW (Proof of Work) workloads while receiving Ethereum rewards that are proportional to their computing power. The cryptocurrency mining module was first detected through Virus-Total as early as September 2021, after being flagged by other cybersecurity solutions as containing cryptocurrency mining trojans (there’s some measure of irony there). 

The move may seem surprising, but it seems like it’s part of an additional monetization effort from Avira and Norton360 parent-company: Tempe, Arizona-based NortonLifeLock Inc. The company announced the acquisition of Avira for $360 million back in January 2021, creating an $8-billion (at the time) cybersecurity juggernaut and bringing Avira’s users into its ecosystem. In August 2021, NortonLifeLock announced it had reached yet another acquisition deal with wildly popular cybersecurity software company Avast.

That particular business deal, valued between $8.1 billion and $8.6 billion – and the third most expensive acquisition in cybersecurity history at the time – added an extremely significant 435 million users to NortonLifeLock. The company has made it clear that these acquisitions pave the way towards reaching a worldwide install base of 500 million users for its cybersecurity products. But considering this cryptocurrency mining integration, it seems NortonLifeLock is also looking to achieve a 500 million cryptocurrency miner install figure. Both Avira and Norton 360 apply a 15% fee on all Ethereum rewards generated by their respective “Avira Crypto” and “Norton Crypto” modules.

The inclusion of mining software in cybersecurity solutions is a particularly complex affair, considering how cryptocurrencies demand specific cybersecurity measures from their users. Avira does provide a FAQ on the matter covering the most basic elements of crypto and blockchain technology, but mostly it describes and asserts limited liability, as well as warning users that their mining efforts may result in utility costs that surpass the possible Ethereum earnings. And right now is a particularly bad moment for any such efforts, considering how the cryptocurrency market has been bleeding value of late. Of course, Avira and Norton’s own 15% share of the profits will always be there, so long as there are profits to be had. And since the company is using users’ hardware and utilities, its profits happen irrespective of mining efficiency.

If you’re wondering why an “Avast Mining” module still isn’t present on the Avast antivirus suite (and its much more significant 435 million user install base), you can count timing as one of the reasons: The deal isn't expected to be complete until mid-2022. The fact that NortonLifeLock is keeping a clear branding scheme with its “antivirus + Crypto” naming does seem to point toward a unified cryptocurrency mining vision for its cybersecurity products. That's one way to fill the company’s coffers after its recent buying spree. Only time will tell exactly how much this strategy pays off.

Francisco Pires
Freelance News Writer

Francisco Pires is a freelance news writer for Tom's Hardware with a soft side for quantum computing.

  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Yet another reason to stick with Microsoft Defender, which was rated higher than Avira in the last AV Labs test, and has been highly rated for years with its biggest problem being slow scan performance, though that's been improved somewhat in the last year. And to quote TomsGuide from 7 days ago:

    Windows Defender now provides world-class malware protection and makes a good argument for not replacing it with a third-party antivirus program. Its only flaws are that some of its protective tasks, like scheduling scans, are hard to set up, and that some of the associated Windows protections apply only to Microsoft's own browsers.

    The best antivirus software 2021 | Tom's Guide (tomsguide.com)
  • pjmelect
    Norton is such a resource hog that I would be surprised if there were any cycles left over to mine crypto currency.
  • eye4bear
    Am I the only one who thinks that this combined group sounds like it should not be allowed due to anti-trust?
  • ARGUS733
    Admin said:
    Following in the footsteps of Norton 360, popular antivirus application Avira now also includes a cryptocurrency mining module in its cybersecurity suite. The move may provide a glimpse into the strategy of both brands’ parent company NortonLifeLock, which is also in the process of acquiring cybersecurity juggernaut Avast.

    Avira Crypto Mining Software in Cybersecurity Solution : Read more
    As the writer knew it would happen...
    Only the ones who have the intent to subvert, would like this option. I used avira in the past, and found it so invasive and intrusive, that even after removal, it kept trying to reinstall.
    Crypto is the the latest timeshare scam via stock market. To invest in something that you acquire by hacking it, means by definition, that all someone has to do is wait for you to get big enough, and take your stuff.
    As in the ones who provided the software?
    Nah, I'd trust 'em. Really. Sure. You betcha!