A recent report by Trusted Reviews has unearthed some upsetting news for users of a torrent management software called uTorrent. According to the report, uTorrent’s most recent update came bundled with another tool called Epic Scale, and it has been accused of mining Bitcoin in the background, a fact that users only discovered after investigating why their processor load times increased.
The background software is actually a variant of Litecoin, and the parent company, BitTorrent, had some upsetting news about the install. According to their examination, there’s nothing foul afoot; it isn’t an unknown install even though it was bundled with another more well-known software, but rather the users are to blame for not reading the fine print.
Makes you want to reconsider those terms of services agreements we all blithely check off, doesn’t it?
According to a post on the update and its implications for TheVerge.com, “Bitcoin miners are a common way for botnet owners to make a profit off of compromised machines, leaving users to bear the cost of the excess computing power, which has left a lot of mining software with a less than savoury reputation. Users that don’t notice the program may find significantly decreased performance as a result.”
Unfortunately, users’ own reports on the issue aren’t lining up completely with the publisher’s assertion. A user named Groundrunner on the uTorrent forum had this to say:
“When I updated uTorrent to version 3.4.2 build 38913 (32-bit) this morning it silently installed a piece of software called EpicScale. There was no information about this during installation and I did opt out of your other bundled software.
“EpicScale is a Bitcoin miner that also purports to use your ‘unused processing power to change the world’. It’s easily noticeable by the increased CPU load when the computer is idle.”
Basically, it’s simply doing what it’s supposed to do by design, whether users wanted it to do it or not. BitTorrent does recommend that users who don’t want to be bogged down with this software simply uninstall Epic Scale.