uTorrent update selectively installs cryptocurrency mining software without notice

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,606   +124
Staff member

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.

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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.

 

madboyv1

Posts: 1,609   +499
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.
 
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stewi0001

Posts: 2,442   +1,942
TechSpot Elite
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.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,026   +1,196
"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.
 
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Kibaruk

Posts: 3,836   +1,183
I switched over to qBitTorrent years ago when µTorrent started adding in useless crap. I recommend qbitrorrent.
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.
 

veLa

Posts: 1,010   +550
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.
 
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Guest

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?
 
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tomkaten

Posts: 289   +239
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.
 

cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,495   +5,869
TBH, whoever uses this piece of ad-ridden crap in this day and age deserves to be turned into a mining bot :)
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.
 
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.
 
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veLa

Posts: 1,010   +550
In the system tray/notification area you should see an E icon.
Guess I'm clean, thanks
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.
 

Seventh Reign

Posts: 131   +65
I switched over to qBitTorrent years ago when µTorrent started adding in useless crap. I recommend qbitrorrent.
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.
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.
 
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tomkaten

Posts: 289   +239
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.
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.
 
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Guest

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.
 

emmzo

Posts: 221   +156
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.