back to article Avira also mines imaginary internet money on customers' PCs

Germany-based security biz Avira's antivirus has enabled a new feature: "Avira Crypto". It's opt-in, but if you click "yes", the AV will use your computer to mine Ethereum. 2011: stand of Avira on March 5, 2011 in CEBIT computer expo, Hannover, Germany. CeBIT is the world's largest computer expo. Avira's stand at the CEBIT …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love the analysis on the porn industry thing. Sadly, it is very true. The only thing greedier than the porn industry is apparently the AV industry. *LOL*

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker
      Thumb Up

      Porn industry as a bellweather

      I wanted to say the same thing.

      Meme: "That's... actually a pretty good argument."

      1. spireite Silver badge

        Re: Porn industry as a bellweather

        Bellweather - I always knew it as a bellend?

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      No, I'm dead flat serious, if there's a new payment, communication, or data storage thing and the porn industry didn't immediately adopt it widely? It is not ever going to be a thing.'

      Gartner Manager to Gartner Analyst: "She said watch the porn industry, not, watch porn"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Screwing is screwing, whether nubile nymps or grumpy grannies.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        All things considered

        I prefer pr0n screwing to AV screwing.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The only thing greedier than the porn industry is apparently the AV industry."

      <cough> 'Adult Video'

    5. Fred Daggy Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Amatuers. Neither are yet to come close to the greediness of the professionals. The Police Forces and Politicians.

  2. DJV Silver badge

    Tried Avira...

    Thought it was a pile of shit - learning here that it comes from the Norton stable explains a lot!

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: Tried Avira...

      I used to use Avira when it was still quite good*. Then it became an unusable mess and I kicked it out.

      * does that statement make me an AV hibster?

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Tried Avira...

        "* does that statement make me an AV hibster?"

        No, it makes you one of literally everyone here, at least I think so. Has anyone who used Windows before Windows 10 not had the experience of finding an antimalware program that runs well enough, doesn't take up tons of resources, doesn't have some sketchy method of pushing the paid version, and is pretty good at keeping up to date with new malware only to have that program lose one or more of those factors in an update? This also counts if you don't use Windows or don't get malware yourself but have to recommend or even operate antimalware for friends.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tried Avira...

        Who hasn't???

        Think I tried them all at one time or another AVG, Avast, Avira*- when they became a pain and more trouble than they're worth, swap to another one.

        Now, I just use the MS built in one, with the occasional scan with Malwarebytes for a second opinion.

        *not necessarily in that order - and probably played about with other software with names NOT starting with "AV"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tried Avira...

          "Who hasn't???"

          Indeed. I went from AVG, dumped it after it flagged a then Win XP lib as malware, moved it to quarantine, and made sure XP would never boot again. Costed me one full day re-installing all the OS and fancy app for one of my neighbour, who happened to be blind, hence the fancy apps.

          Then, I was using Avast for years, had to work through the constant nagging and all of a sudden, realized its agent was eating 100% of my internet bandwidth without any action on any device !


          At work, there is Mc Afee, which has a nice feature: it WILL NEVER detect anything wrong. I've even tried to throw some known virus to it, it won't even move an elbrow !


          I had to go through the Norton pain for some neighbours. Now, spotting anything with "Norton" in its name triggers the knee jerk move of clicking uninstall instantly. Cos it's shite.

          Now, I'm on Avira but wondering, given this article, what good free AV regtards are using ...

          Anything good ?

          1. Dark Eagle

            Re: Tried Avira...

            Mere presence of Norton inspire such rage within me.

            Also, blind here as well. Though I do like to consider myself reasonably tech savvy. The fancy apps probably were the reason why the neighbor could use that computer.

      3. fidodogbreath

        Re: Tried Avira...

        does that statement make me an AV hibster?

        It's better when you install it from vinyl.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tried Avira...

      Avira used to be REALLY good, like top of the AV comparitives for a while. So sad.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tried Avira...

        REALLY good, but not good enough that people sent them an amount of money sufficient to stay in business, apparently.

    3. Lazlo Woodbine

      Re: Tried Avira...

      It's only recently been subsumed into Norton, so in all likelihood it was independent when you tried it.

      To be fair, it was pretty decent years back when I tried it for a year or two.

      Nowadays I use Sophos, but I'm seriously tempted to boot that too and just use Defender on my Windows machines

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    taxi driver principle

    "All of my professional service providers keep asking me about crypto because they keep hearing about it and they know I'm a tech person..."

    While the argument about porn studios is interesting, there's a simpler and more traditional observation here, and it's called the taxi driver or shoeshine boy principle. It states that a market bubble or boom (traditionally in a specific stock but it could be anything) is reaching its peak when bankers get asked about it by the very least financially literate people they encounter -- which historically might have been taxi drivers or shoeshine boys. The essential truth of it is that once everyone who can possibly be interested in buying into something is doing so, there is no one left to buy to keep prices going higher. It does not seem unreasonable to apply this principle to cryptocurrencies, a fact I pointed out a few weeks ago when my own senior citizen parents asked me whether I thought them legitimate investments (short answer: no; longer answer: hell no).

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Re: taxi driver principle

      Now try to read it as:

      "All of my professional service providers keep asking me about porn because they keep hearing about it and they know I'm a sexy person..."

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: taxi driver principle

        Ow, soda |nose > keyboard and monitor.

        (I've met Denise in person; nice person, very smart and savvy.)

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: taxi driver principle

      Years ago gold got stupidly more valuable. At the height of the market my late mother-in-law was saying " I need to buy gold" (I don't know what with btw). Head in hands.

  4. Clausewitz 4.0

    Porn principle

    "All of my professional service providers keep asking me about crypto because they keep hearing about it and they know I'm a tech person..."

    If they like exclusive porn, they can buy some nasty stuff on the deepweb. Porn already embraced cryptocurrency.

    If the old folks like the defense sector, Tell them they can finance abroad operations with almost total anonymity.

    If they like controlled drugs, they can buy all of them and receive in vacuum-sealed packages by mail.

    If they like security software, there are hackers for hire via cryptocurrency.

    Oh, they can also donate to wikileaks or EFF.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Porn principle

      Don't try to pass off the child abuse and worse of the "dark web" as "just porn". It doesn't even vaguely resemble a "legitimate industry." :(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Porn principle

        Defining "child" abuse can be tricky. Several of the Epstein cases are complicated by different ages of consent in US states and other countries.

        Many countries in the world still permit marriage under age 18 - often much younger. Figures in the last few years show that the USA has states which still have legally allowed marriages as young as age 10.

  5. Andrew Hodgkinson

    Wait, what?

    So through all these harmful acquisitions, Norton now own Norton, Avira, Symantec, Avast *and* AVG AV?

    This is why it should never be possible to purchase brands! Sigh.

    What's left that's any good?

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Wait, what?

      I'm using Kaspersky.(free) because I check recommendations frequently and that's the current best n show.

      1. Swarthy

        Re: Wait, what?

        I have had good (and annoying) fortune with Comodo. It works well, but it does add a trouble shooting step when software doesn't work - Is the window in a green border (running sandboxed, unable to interact with the rest of the system - "saved" files aren't)?

        1. TeraTelnet

          Re: Wait, what?


          (Please validate my choice!)

  6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    But when will there be any free cycles?

    IME, AV already sucks the life out of PCs in "normal" use. There'll never be much left over for crypto mining. The user certainly isn't going to earn anything from it because each individual PC can only contribute a tiny fraction of the work required to "mine" a coin.

    1. Binraider Silver badge

      Re: But when will there be any free cycles?

      AV I always found a strange area. Windows was and is that that vulnerable that doing without was sometimes dangerous. One wrong website... One malformed advert.

      Yet sorting out the snake oil from effective software was a nightmare, and has only got worse since.

      Of course, hang around in the shadier parts of the internet and you will get burned. But that malware was by no means unique to those areas.

      So what can you do in this era of download everything? And every download can easily be compromised (see CCleaner). Yes, obligatory excuse to preach to the converted to get normies to use something else probably much better suited to their needs.

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: But when will there be any free cycles?

      With over a billion PCs worldwide, around 3/4 of those having AV installed, Norton holding (at a guess, as Avast alone covers this) 1/8 of the market, let's use simple round numbers and say there are 100 million PCs with Norton AV products installed.

      If a bog standard PC takes two years to mine 'an' ethereum, and each PC is switched on for just an hour a day you're looking at over 5000 ethereum a day, or $11m/day pretty much pure profit.

      I can see the attraction to Norton.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Serious question from MS users

    Are commercial AV offerings still required, or is the MS option robust enough?

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Serious question from MS users

      The MS option is better than the alternatives as far as I can see.

      About the same at detecting viruses, far better at not causing problems of its own.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Serious question from MS users

        Work uses the MS one after trying out several others. Presumably paying extra as that's the usual way of things.

        Didn't stop someone getting a ransomware infection, though something did detect it before it escaped Finance. Why is it nearly always Finance?

    2. Security nerd #21

      Re: Serious question from MS users

      Windows Defender + OpenDNS / CleanBrowsing seems to have prevented my extended family machines getting malware for a few years now.

      Good enough I think - and the only callout I've had was for a Windows scam (the relation was highly embarrassed)

    3. Trollslayer

      Re: Serious question from MS users

      From what I can see Windows Defender is only a firewall.

    4. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Serious question from MS users

      The MS Defender that is provided by default is now pretty good since since Windows 10.

      That said it can be a resource hog when it does a full scan but it is built in, requires no configuration and is "free".

      It is not as comprehensive as many other products but to get all the bells and whistles that are used as reasons to upgrade, you have to pay. It is my opinion that most of the bells and whistles are snake oile anyway.

      Then you have the likes of CrowdStrike, Webroot and the other "modern" AV products that claim to do everything "in the cloud" so a naturally "much better". When I did a trial of Crowdstrike I could not even get it to find EICAR or another genuine script payload. They are all shite, relying on funky interfaces and all sorts of graphs and metrics to make you believe they are doing something.

      As a paid product I like Malwarbytes and use it in conjunction with Defender. It appears to off a reasonable compromise.

      As for free AV solutions, with software like this, nothing is ever free.

  8. etudiant

    A sensible way to fund public projects

    There are lots of worth while projects such as SETI or 'Folding at Home' that use the idle computer cycles of participants.

    I'd think that if perhaps half the cycles were used for mining and the rest for the main effort, people would be just as willing to participate.

    Maybe pay out 10% of any winnings to the lucky participant whose computer struck paydirt, use the balance to fund the overhead.

  9. Christian Berger

    Nobody expects that kind of software to do anything other than...

    ...waste CPU cycles. After all the only remotely sensible feature (scanning for known bad strings of octets) is only semi-useful so vendors try to proof maths wrong by trying to find out if code is "good" or "bad" by just looking at it.

  10. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    There are no "spare" cpu cycles.

    using them burns more energy and pollutes the planet.

    and if you're doing that for bullshit pretend money reasons is doubly {adjective}

  11. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    Life lock is stealing your ish...

    and you pay them for it. LMAO! I feel so sorry for this generation. It's no wonder people DO NOT TRUST ANYTHING. I bet if you look closely you will find ties to extremists right wing organizations.

  12. porlF


    Allowing a (AV) corporate to parasitically do other work on your PC/laptop ... why would you?

    1. Desktop/laptops are not optimised for 'coin mining, and will only do so very inefficiently. The AV companies are saving themselves the cost of running their own (efficient) mining operation in a bit-barn, and passing N x the cost on to AV end users. Gee thanks!

    2. With energy costs on the rise, and predicted to increase by another 50% this year, do we really want to be be funding this?

    3. Erm ... aren't we supposed to be concerned about conserving energy ..... you know, climate change and all that?

    4. Can we trust their job engine to _only_ run the code they claim it runs? How would we know otherwise ( ha! install another AV product alongside!) ?

    Best to swerve past this stuff, IMHO.

    1. Rob Daglish

      Re: Parasitic

      Agreed, except I'd add 0) Why the hell do the AV vendors feel the need to jump under this particular bandwagon, and wouldn't it be better to just not get involved at all?

      Unless... yes, maybe they decide if you've been infected by a reduced number of cycles available to their crypto (corrupto?) mining operation!

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: Parasitic

        I believe the answer is "Because some chucklehead in Marketing demanded it."

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