Users are angry after the most recent update to µTorrent (aka uTorrent) has been installing what they allege is cryptocurrencying mining malware.
While BitTorrent, the company that owns µTorrent says that the software is installed in a open and transparent way, users claim that isn’t the case. BitTorrent also claims that the software is easily removed but users again are claiming the opposite.
The revelations comes way of µTorrent’s forums where a user posted about addition. The software in question is called Epic Scale and it claims to mine Litecoin and perform other mathematical computations using user’s idle processing power.
It should be pointed out for the uninformed that the company BitTorrent has almost nothing to do with the protocol known as BitTorrent. Much like there is a difference between Blockchain.info the company and the Bitcoin Blockchain, BitTorrent is not in anyway in charge of Bittorrent the protocol.
While there are conflicting accounts of how hard or easy it was to opt-out of the software or if one even could, it is a clear example of how critical open sourced software is to the world. If µTorrent was open source, then there could be no argument, the answer would be in the code.
The forums went offline for a few hours, leading some to speculate they were taken down in an intentional act of censorship. The forums appear to be back up now and BitTorrent told The Verge that the downtime was coincidental. [Note: Just before publishing the forums went offline again.]
Epic Scale claims to support four charities. Immunity, WaterisLife, Blood:Water and Onedegree. There are no links to any of the charities from the Epic Scale page, only static images. A Google search for Immunity charity revealed no results. The Onedegree logo on Epic Scale’s website was outdated and states that the charity is in beta, OneDegree appears to not have used that logo in years, it cannot be found on the OneDegree website or in any cache of the site on Archive.org. Google searches of the OneDegree and Immunity logo images did not reveal any relevant results.
We have contacted WaterisLife, Blood:Water and OneDegree to confirm if Epic Scale is indeed a regular supporter of them. They did not reply in time for publishing. We have also contacted Epic Scale asking for proof of their support and clarification on the Immunity charity. We will update this space when we get a response.
BitTorrent admins claim on the forum and separately to The Verge and Engadget, that the install is not “silent” meaning that users are informed. However, when asked to post screen shots of the warning page, the admins have so far been unable to.
µTorrent was once known for its light weight install and processing. In fact, the µ in µTorrent comes from the symbol for a microgram, indicating how lightweight the client is supposed to be.
Years ago, the µTorrent was one of the most respected and used torrent clients. It was opensourced but went closed source in 2007 after being purchased by BitTorrent Inc. the year before.
We will have more as it becomes available.