uTorrent Caught Silently Installing BitCoin Mining Malware in Latest Update

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In the latest version of the unanimously popular BitTorrent client, μTorrent (uTorrent, muTorrent), the company has been caught silently installing a BitCoin mining piece of malware on users machines, causing your computer to run slower and build profit for them.

Users of the uTorrent BitTorrent client have recently complained about the latest μTorrent 3.4.2 Build 38913, for silently installing an unwanted piece of bundled software called, EpicScale, which is actually a legitimate BitCoin mining software.

The San Francisco, California-based BitTorrent Inc., the developers behind uTorrent, included EpicScale in their latest update. Epic Scale is infact a legal cryptocurreny mining software that uTorrent installed without user consent or knowledge. The company behind the BitCoin mining software recently highlighted a uTorrent user complaint, citing a forum member ‘Groundrunner’ writing: “There was no information about this during installation and I did opt out of your other bundled software.”

The senior manager for customer support among BitTorrent Inc.’s uTorrent company did reply to now deleted thread, explaining that the update was designed to ensure partner software downloads ‘don’t occur without approval by the user,’ while another uTorrent employee wrote otherwise.

“Epic Scale is a great partner for us to continue to generate revenue for the company, while contributing funds to good causes,” a uTorrent employee wrote in a thread. “Feel free to delete this folder. You certainly won’t see any persistent auto-reinstalls of the software, it will be gone from your machine for good.”

The thread has since been deleted and redirected to a 404 page not found on the uTorrent community forum.

However a new forum has emerged regarding the issue, yet a customer support manager denies any issues. “We design our software to ensure that partner software downloads don’t occur without approval by the user. But given your report, we’ve also double-checked this particular offer, and have determined that it cannot be installed without user approval.”

The Epic Scale team said they are investigating the ongoing issue. Alongside being grilled by an angry mob, the company said they are offering assistance and a $20 Amazon gift card to affected users who can provide additional details.

“I recognize many of you are reporting a silent install. We are going to address this with all our distribution partners and determine what’s going on,” Epic Scale’s Alexander writes.

The main gripe with uninstalling Epic Scale, is that a simple uninstallation procedure on the Windows machine won’t actually uninstall Epic Scale, instead it will just uninstall the BitTorrent client. It’s not as one click and you’re done as the uTorrent employee described as “easy to uninstall.”

uTorrent’s silent install of malware is a betrayal to all their loyal users, bundling the application into the latest update and abusing their machines to generate revenue for the company. Alongside that, the miner will consume vast system resources running 24/7. One user even complained that the software is “easily noticeable by the increased CPU load when the computer is idle.”

The silent miner appeared to selectively installed, meaning not all machines were infected by the latest client build. A BitTorrent spokesperson got as bold to say, “we have reviewed the issue closely and can confirm there is no silent install happening. We are continuing to look at the issue.”

As that is a blatant lie, to assure that you are not infected by utorrent’s Epic Scale install which could likely be significantly decreasing your machines performance, check the Windows Task manager (Ctrl-Shift-Esc) to assure EpicScale is not running in the processes tab. Users can follow EpicScale’s official removal instructions for more info on how to remove the software.

With over 150 million active monthly users, utorrent is the largest BitTorrent client used worldwide. One could imagine the revenue utorrent could acquire if even 10% of users machines had upgraded grabbing the latest malware-laced version.

Shortly after the story erupted, users continuously scoured for an opt-out-screen within the initial set-up menu, after several reinstalls an opt-out-screen screen finally appeared with a decline option.

Later, the company also informed TorrentFreak they were unaware of any ongoing issues, stating the following.

“In terms of user complaints in our forums, we always take these claims seriously. We highly value our users, they are a passionate and tech savvy group. In the last 24 hours we have received less than a dozen inquiries out of several million offers.”

“We have reviewed the issue closely and can confirm there is no silent install happening. We are continuing to look at the issue. But this is most likely these users accepted the offer during install.”

Users looking to move away from utorrent can try alternative clients including, Deluge, Vuze, Transmission, qBittorrent, Bitcomment which are lightweight, free, and cross-platform clients available for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows machines.

About Author

Brandon Stosh is the founder and CEO of www.freedomhacker.net. Stosh is a cyber security researcher and professional consultant who strives to provide reliable news on cyber-security based topics.

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