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uTorrent silently installing bundled Bitcoin mining software



BitTorrent client uTorrent has come under fire from users after it emerged the software’s latest update comes bundled with Bitcoin mining software.

The piece of software, named Epic Scale, is a Bitcoin miner that purports to use your ‘unused processing power to change the world.’

According to one user, the software is ‘easily noticeable by the increased CPU load when the computer is idle.’

Unfortunately, the problem lies in the fact that users say they weren’t asked they wanted the software to be installed, although it must be noted that the uTorrent team flatly denies that silent installs have occurred.

UPDATE: Since this story broke we've dug a little deeper into the installation process and story behind Epic Scale. Read: Epic Scale and uTorrent: Bitcoin mining 'riskware' investigated

A thread on the uTorrent forums by user ‘Groundrunner’ says: “There was no information about this during installation and I did opt out of your other bundled software.”

The issue specifically relates to uTorrent version 3.4.2 build 28913 (32-bit), which is the company’s most recent update.

Another user, dubbed ‘Adrenelized’, said there was ‘never a warning about it’, despite installing uTorrent completely fresh to his or her system.

uTorrent's forum is now inaccessible citing "This account has been suspended". This could be down to the excessive traffic following the Epic Scale news.

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A senior manager for customer support at uTorrent did reply to the thread, explaining that it designs its software to ensure partner software downloads ‘don’t occur without approval by the user’.

Epic Scale is a great partner for us to continue to generate revenue for the company, while contributing funds to good causes,” wrote the uTorrent employee.

“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.”

This may not be the case however. Several users have said that the program does not uninstall completely via Add/Remove Programs, nor by removing the ProgramData\Epicscale folder.

Epic Scale is currently a cryptocurrency miner, but it has future plans to also contribute CPU cycles to other initiatives like Genome mapping.

It’s an ill-timed addition to uTorrent as bundled software however, as laptop manufacturer Lenovo was recently lambasted for its own user-unapproved software bundle of the Superfish program that left user data vulnerable to attack.


We asked BitTorrent Inc., the company that created uTorrent, for a comment on the matter. Here is the response:

"Like many software companies, we have partner offers in our install path and our policy is that they are strictly optional. We aim to work with partners that would appeal to our tech-forward user base. This is the case with Epic Scale, they are lite-coin based and charity focused. They have a great story and you should consider doing a post on what they are trying to achieve.

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."

Update #2:

As BitTorrent has suggested that the complaining users are mistaken, we asked BitTorrent whether it could do more to improve transparency in the uTorrent installation process. This was the response:

"As with any such offer from any software vendor there is a clear "Accept" and "Do Not Accept" button on this offer."

Giving BitTorrent the benefit of the doubt, there are three clear scenarios that could have caused this situation. Either the users are collectively mistaken; there is a lack of transparency in the software installation, leading to confusion amongst users; or there is a software fault whereby users are experiencing issues not otherwise intended by BitTorrent.

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March 6, 2015, 2:35 pm

The µ in µtorrent's name was supposed to mean 'mini'/'micro' but they sold out a while ago. Since they've been stuffing it with ads and bundled software I've gone back to an old version and refused to update.


March 6, 2015, 2:40 pm

Disgusting. This is why I stick to good ol' free and open source software. The uTorrent company should be ashamed, and should use other non-invasive ways to generate said revenue. This will stain their reputation.


March 6, 2015, 3:15 pm

It's practically malware now. Secretly using your computer, processing power and electricity, without your permission is beyond the pale.

Big Nick Digger

March 6, 2015, 3:55 pm

Use qBittorrent on Windows, Transmission on Linux or Mac.

Free yourself from the awful uTorrent and it's scams.

Phony McFake

March 6, 2015, 4:01 pm

Correction: the recent build is 38913, not 28913.


March 6, 2015, 4:12 pm

3.1.3 for me and it's ad free


March 6, 2015, 4:29 pm

Or you could, you know, not steal stuff.
You can use stuff like this and then be surprised when you end up with some type of malware on your system.

Robert Johnson

March 6, 2015, 4:43 pm

BitTorrent is a network protocol. It doesn't equate stealing. There are plenty of legal use cases for it, including distributing free operating systems.


March 6, 2015, 4:45 pm

You know that Torrent isn't only for stealing stuff right ? It's a Download method, different than http, faster for the biggest connexions, doesn't depend on the server speed or limitation.


March 6, 2015, 4:53 pm

Can anyone verify this software on their PC that are currently using uTorrent???


March 6, 2015, 4:58 pm

µTorrent was such a great minimalistic and light piece of software a few years back. Then is was sold off and started comming bundled with addware and malware.
Stopped using it more than 2 years ago, now using Tixiati.


March 6, 2015, 5:05 pm

We're looking into at the moment. We suspect it's as much a case of clever design than anything else. How often do you just skip through each step unthinkingly? I do it quite often myself.

Nick Lucier

March 6, 2015, 5:12 pm

I like how utorrents forum is shutdown atm


March 6, 2015, 5:30 pm

Oh yeah, I know that.
But I'm a realist :)


March 6, 2015, 5:31 pm

Very true it can be used for distribution of free operating systems.
That is one use case.
It is mainly used to distribute illegal media and software though, as I'm sure you well know. :)

Gabi Pătroi

March 6, 2015, 5:34 pm

I have build 39181

Steven H.

March 6, 2015, 5:41 pm

Which is why I use uTorrent version 2.2.1 and do NOT let it update to a newer version. That was the last version that doesn't have bloatware and malware and it still works as it should. You can download many old versions securely from FileHorse.com

Turbo Lover

March 6, 2015, 5:46 pm

Aaaaand this user is gone, switched to Qbittorrent , no ads and even better than utorrent, bye byee

Bird the Watcher

March 6, 2015, 6:06 pm

Uninstalling utorrent.
Thanks for the ride. It was great while it lasted.


March 6, 2015, 7:26 pm

We've looked in more depth at the uTorrent installation process and the story behind Epic Scale. Read Epic Scale and uTorrent: Bitcoin mining 'riskware' investigated for more info.


March 6, 2015, 7:46 pm

I used to love these replies when I could post the isohunt top ten torrents and they were always a mix of pirated new released movies and porn. Always. Just admit that everyone is stealing and own your shame...I did.

Jeremy L

March 6, 2015, 7:50 pm

I guess they should of been reading what they were rapidly clicking hahaha. I installed this weeks ago and opted out of the bundled software because I use ALWAYS look at what I'm clicking, I expect every installer to have bundled software that has to be disabled.


March 6, 2015, 7:51 pm

Oh of course - but going through the installation process again I never noticed the program ever showing up


March 6, 2015, 8:34 pm

UPDATE: Since this story broke we've dug a little deeper into the installation process and story behind Epic Scale. HOLY CRAP!!!!!! You didn't fucking think to do this before posting this POS Story? Nice work.


March 6, 2015, 9:01 pm

how do you know if you got the mining program?

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