Your Torrent Client Might Be Mining Bitcoin Without Telling You

Your Torrent Client Might Be Mining Bitcoin Without Telling You

When you download the popular torrent client uTorrent, the website describes the software as "light, limitless" and "elegant, efficient". That's ironic because multiple users are reporting that the latest uTorrent update quietly installs processor-hogging bitcoin-mining software without your knowledge.

Comment threads in multiple uTorrents forums say that version 3.4.2 build 28913 of the software includes EpicScale, a bitcoin mining program that uses "unused processing power to change the world." There's obviously money involved in this deal. In one of those threads, a uTorrent representative confirmed the partnership: "EpicScale is a great partner for us to continue to generate revenue for the company."

But users never would have known if they hadn't investigated the issue, since uTorrent doesn't mention EpicScale when you install its bittorent client.

uTorrent denies it's doing anything in secret. In a statement the company said that it "can confirm there is no silent install happening… Most likely these users accepted the offer during install." Indeed, there is a window that pops up during installation that prompts the user to accept some other software installations. It looks like a terms of service document for uTorrent, but the fine print is actually details about a bunch of ad deals that install crap in your browser and so forth.

When I installed the OS X version of uTorrent, EpicScale was not mentioned in this document. Meanwhile, if this many uTorrent are complaining about not knowing about the bitcoin mining software, it's pretty clear that uTorrent's not doing a good job telling them about it.

Is this shady? Sure is. Is it the end of the world? Not really. Bitcoin mining software can create a bit of a drag on your processor, but it remains to be seen if users will really notice it much. Meanwhile, uTorrent is free, ad-supported software, so they have to make money somehow. It would just be nice if the company told you what software it was installing on your computer. That's not too much to ask.

[uTorrent Forums via Trusted Reviews]

Picture: uTorrent / Gizmodo


Comments

    uTorrent stopped being good software a long time ago. It was supposed to be super-lean torrent software with good base features and no bloat. Then they started cramming ads into it, trying to install other junk on your system and loading it up with bloatware. This move is no surprise, the developers are complete dicks.

    I moved to Tixati a long time ago and I recommend everyone still using uTorrent do the same, or at minimum move to any other torrent software. uTorrent as it used to be is dead.

      UI wise i think Deluge or qBitTorrent is a nicer and easier adjustment for uTorrent users. Tixati looks a bit weird for my tastes. Deluge even lets you run it as a daemon on one machine and control it with the UI on another, i think ill be heading to deluge.

      http://deluge-torrent.org/
      http://www.qbittorrent.org/

      Yeah, when the middle aged, MKR/The Voice mums and dads started talking about uTorrent at work, I knew it was LONG past it's used by date. Personally, when switching from BitLord all those years ago, uT at the time, seemed like bloatware; And Tix was dl-ing at a much, much faster rate (without altering it's priority setting) compared to uT anyways. There's much better torrenting software than uT out there. Don't waste your time with it.

      In his defence, I worked with the *original* developer on other projects and he's a nice guy.
      That said, he got a very nice offer for uTorrent... And the buyers have indeed ended up to be quite dickish! :P

    The only reason I still use utorrent is that I run it as a service on a server, and can access it remotely from anywhere via utorrent remote.

    If I actually had to look at the bloated ad filled crap everyday I'd switch.

    I'm curious. Is it pronounced "You-Torrent" or "Mew-Torrent" as the letter implies?

      Officially it's pronounced "micro-torrent", since mu is the symbol for the micro- prefix in SI scale units.

    Definitely noticed uTorrents performance changed recently - I don't even need to have something downloading or uploading yet it chews up bandwidth anyway - simply turning it off on my desktop lifts my PS4's ping times and other weird junk like that. Will likely remove it very shortly.

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