uTorrent, the popular torrenting software used by many, has come under fire today for including a program called Epic Scale in its latest update, according to Trusted Reviews. Epic Scale, bundled with uTorrent 3.4.2, mines a Bitcoin variant called Litecoin using your computer and electricity. Many uTorrent users are saying that this software was installed without their permission, and they were not aware that it was installed on their computer until they noticed the significant increase in CPU usage.
In a statement to The Verge, uTorrent’s parent company, BitTorrent, confirmed that Epic Scale was bundled intentionally, but denied that it was being installed without user consent. . “We have reviewed the issue closely and can confirm there is no silent install happening…. Most likely these users accepted the offer during install.” While I can confirm that for me, the software did ask whether I would like to install Epic Scale, it was an opt-out rather than opt-in service, and unsuspecting users who just click continue would never see the prompt. While it is not dangerous, it could be a performance sucking piece of bloat on your computer.
BitTorrent support claimed that Epic Scale software is “easy to uninstall”, but affected users have claimed otherwise. Numerous reports have said that the software does not appear in Windows’s list of uninstallable software, and requires anti-malware software to properly uninstall.
Botnet owners, or people who have control over many computers, will often use cryptocurrency mining software on their “zombie” computers to generate a profit for them. The inclusion of this Litecoin mining software into uTorrent essentially allows BitTorrent to amass a network of computers collectively generating this internet currency for them. Unfortunately, the fact that this is an opt-out rather than opt-in type service means that many unsuspecting users will get this software on their computers without first giving permission.