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uTorrent update selectively installs cryptocurrency mining software without notice

By Shawn Knight · 42 replies
Mar 6, 2015
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  1. utorrent bittorrent bitcoin virtual currency torrents cryptocurrency litecoin miner cryptocurrency miner bitcoin miner

    uTorrent, one of the most popular BitTorrent clients on the web, isn’t really any different from most other free software on the web. It earns revenue through in-app advertising and also presents users with special offers to try third-party software.

    These offers are usually opt-in but as of a few days ago, that no longer appears to be the case.

    uTorrent has been pushing a program called Epic Scale for several weeks now, again, as an opt-in. Here lately, however, complaints suggest uTorrent has been installing the cryptocurrency mining program silently in the background.

    utorrent bittorrent bitcoin virtual currency torrents cryptocurrency litecoin miner cryptocurrency miner bitcoin miner

    As you likely know, mining most cryptocurrency using a computer’s CPU or graphics card isn’t exactly efficient. That’s why serious miners have long since moved to application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners – a type of hardware whose only purpose is to mine cryptocurrency.

    If you have hundreds of thousands of computers mining away using standard hardware, however, you could still stand to make a pretty penny which appears to be what is happening here.

    Several users have complained about the issue online, and rightfully so. Running a program like Epic Scale that puts such a heavy load on hardware for extended periods of time is a recipe for disaster without the right type of cooling. Even then, you run the real risk of shortening the life of your hardware.

    It’s one thing to install risky software on your system for personal gain; it’s quite another to have someone else take advantage of the life and well-being of your system with no payout in return.

    utorrent bittorrent bitcoin virtual currency torrents cryptocurrency litecoin miner cryptocurrency miner bitcoin miner

    By the way, TechSpot now marks adware-style software with a warning in our download section.

    Epic Scale appears to be handling the matter professionally, offering assistance and a $20 Amazon gift card for those affected that provide details on the matter. BitTorrent, uTorrent’s parent company, denies any wrongdoing and said there are no silent installations taking place. Torrent Freak has since confirmed that the silent install appears to be happening randomly or selectively.

    Permalink to story.

  2. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,461   +364

    This very thing was just mentioned in the comments section of an earlier article, and my response is the same: how the mighty have fallen from grace. Also, Pepperidge Farm remembers the good old days.
    CanadEan84 likes this.
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,633   +1,018

    So could it possible be a torjan unknowingly downloaded by some utorrent users? Assuming, of course, that they are not actually silently installing it as they state.
  4. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,005   +661

    "Torrent Freak has since confirmed that the silent install appears to be happening randomly or selectively."

    So what is a Custom Installation going to do? Nothing, that's what. You're straight up lying to people. If anything, you should either edit your warning accordingly, or pull the offending version completely from TechSpot servers.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  5. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,601   +1,888

    So much for the "innocent" porno downloads, can't trust nobody these days, it seems...
  6. Switch to qbittorrent
    abysal, turismozilla and wildrage like this.
  7. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,633   +1,018

    honestly, I thought you initially meant to comment here.
  8. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +131

    I switched over to qBitTorrent years ago when µTorrent started adding in useless crap. I recommend qbitrorrent.
    turismozilla, wildrage and tomkaten like this.
  9. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,259   +879

    Same here, uTorrent used to be small. used very little resource and now it's a crap load things you will not ever use or need. It kept freezing and crashing. A year ago or so I switched to qbit which reminded me how it was in the beggining.
  10. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 773   +221

    I can confirm that it is doing it selectively, I was about to format my computers anyway so I ran a little installation test.

    After installing uTorrent on my desktop (the one on my profile) it silently installed Epic Scale without warning. Currently doing a clean install of W8.1 Pro x64 on that machine. I also ran it on my laptop as a test and it didn't install without asking for premission first.
    dkbroadband likes this.
  11. Alpha Gamer

    Alpha Gamer TS Evangelist Posts: 351   +112

    And how do I know if I'm one of the people affected by this issue?
  12. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 773   +221

    In the system tray/notification area you should see an E icon.
  13. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,461   +364

    Nope, I posted my response in the other article something like 20 minutes before I even saw this land in my RSS feed.
  14. So the p2p ware that we so strongly stand by cause we love p2p will marr the reputation from one of its genesis programs.
    The victim becomes the tyrant in favor of a hidden character for profits. When will these payment issues resolve?
    P2p is backed by people but if you deceive they will retort to another depriving Corps.

    A rogue programer maybe installed it but how could that get through quality control? Not paid enough? Then with bitcoins and a global open source economy is there any space for excuse of low paid programmers especially the advantage they bring to the table.

    Ha the musician is very much like the programmer. We are artists and are tired of being ripped off cause a talentless individual has money and greed creates theft and mischief by its own victims. Ask yourself this who is the real thief?
    treetops likes this.
  15. AnonymousSurfer

    AnonymousSurfer TS Guru Posts: 452   +40

    So I guess this makes BitTorrent the top P2P software now? Seeing uTorrent has soiled their reputation
  16. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Maniac Posts: 221   +142

    TBH, whoever uses this piece of ad-ridden crap in this day and age deserves to be turned into a mining bot :)

    There are so many better options it's not even funny anymore.
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,409   +3,422

    That is so ridiculous! There are no more ads in uTorrent, than browsing without an ad blocker. In fact browsing the web is far worse.
  18. Alpha Gamer

    Alpha Gamer TS Evangelist Posts: 351   +112

    Guess I'm clean, thanks
    CanadEan84 likes this.
  19. albert89

    albert89 TS Rookie

    At the very beginning uTorrent was great, then they added non stop ads and that annoyed me. But what really pissed me off was when I was getting downloads (which is didn't do while setting them to 1K max) that were equal to or greater than my uploads. I contacted uTorrent about this but no one wanted to know. So I erased the current version and installed one of the earlier versions with mixed but acceptable results. If anyone knows of a torrent that allows users to set downloads down to zero then let me know. As all I want to do is just upload.

    In case your wondering AMD's Kaveri APU seems the be the best at crypto mining the new architecture seems for some reason to excel at that brought out in recent reviews.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2015
  20. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 773   +221

    You might also want to run a search on your hard drive for "Epic Scale". It also should show up in add/remove programs (it did for me, but other users are saying it doesn't).

    You'd also notice if any of your cores are running 100% usage when you're machine should be idling. During my little test on Epic Scale, it was using 2 of my 8 cores.
  21. Seventh Reign

    Seventh Reign TS Booster Posts: 131   +65

    I can also recommend qbitorrent. Plus you can use it in Windows and Linux without Wine. Deluge is decent too, but sometimes it just wont download anything.
    turismozilla likes this.
  22. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Maniac Posts: 221   +142

    True, but the web browsing you can control with ONE simple addon/extension, whatever you want to call it. But a program that needs a permanent connection to do its core duties and is willing to run ads/hijack my searches/install third party software... I, for one, can't really trust that to run on my system.

    The pattern here is obvious... These amazing pieces of software get bought by greedy companies at some point and their reputation gets heavily exploited for financial gain.

    Kmplayer, utorrent, Adblock by Palant... The list goes on and on.

    Great alternatives to utorrent (all clean, some open source): qBittorrent, Deluge, Transmission for Windows, Tixati.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  23. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,952   +203

    This is why I will never upgrade past µTorrent v2.2.1, it works just fine still today!
    waqasr and emmzo like this.
  24. Second that. Or switch to Deluge. No spyware, miners, or other crapware from closedsource sketchy programs. Just open-source quality made by the people for the people.
  25. emmzo

    emmzo TS Booster Posts: 141   +37

    I have 3.0, the most complete and ad-free version. I was surprised you can still easily find it, but not for long I suppose. Sure there are plenty of alternatives, but they mostly suck.

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