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uTorrent Allegedly Installed Cryptocurrency Mining Software On Users’ Machines

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

The company behind popular bittorrenting client uTorrent is under fire for allegedly installing a cryptocurrency mining software on users’ machines stealthy. The issue came to light when uTorrent community member “Groundrunner” discovered increased CPU activity even when his computer was idle. According to him, the problem started occurring soon after he installed build 38913 of uTorrent on his computer. Upon further investigation, he found a software named “Epic Scale” running on his machine. The software is known as a cryptocurrency mining software which utilizes idle CPU power for mining Litecoins.

uTorrent is one of the most popular bittorrenting clients available today. Developed by BitTorrent Inc., the software is used by more than 100 million users from all over the world. Despite being immensely popular, uTorrent is totally free for its users and is monetized through ads. However, many users have complained that uTorrent is introducing more and more pieces of adware into the software with every release. The bundling of the Epic Scale software seems like yet another attempt by the company to profit from its vast user base.

As it can be imagined, uTorrent users are not happy with the alleged latest monetizing strategy adopted by the company. After the issue came to light, many users have complained that they were not aware of any cryptocurrency mining software being installed on their machines. A section of uTorrent users have also accused BitTorrent Inc. of installing Epic Scale without their explicit permission. Even the user Groundrunner said that there was no information regarding the installation of Epic Scale software at the time of installation and that the software was installed even when he opted out of all bundled software offers.

Epic Scale, in response to complaints from hundreds of uTorrent users, said that the company’s software is used for a number of complex computational tasks including image rendering, genomics research, protein folding, weather simulation, physics simulation in addition to cryptocurrency mining. The company also added that its software works only when the CPU is idle plus it does not read any personal information from the users’ machines. To pacify outraged uTorrent users, the company also said that it donates a majority of its profits to charitable institutions.

BitTorrent Inc., in its reply, flatly denied that uTorrent was installing Epic Scale software on users’ machines without their permission. The company said that add-on softwares only get installed with uTorrent only when the user chooses to install them. However, the company did admit that Epic Scale was a valuable partner of the company and added that it regularly partners with other companies to offer add-on softwares that would appeal to its user base. The company also said that users are free to uninstall Epic Scale software from their machines and the process would not affect the operations of uTorrent in any way.

After the users raised hue and cry about the presence of Epic Scale software within uTorrent, BitTorrent Inc. has released a new version that doesn’t include the cryptocurrency mining software. Let’s hope that the company has learned its lesson and decided not to push such add-on offers to users in the future.

July 23, 2015

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