Polina is an undergraduate student at Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU) where she is studying at the faculty of International Business Communication for a degree specializing in Intercultural Communication. In her spare time she enjoys drawing, music and travelling.
BitTorrent client uTorrent has been using the computer power of its users to generate bitcoins.
uTorrent has been allegedly using the computers of its users for bitcoin mining without their approval. The users were unaware that while updating their BitTorrent client (version 3.4.2 build 28913), the installation of the program, called Epic Scale, was taking place.
The miner can be easily identified by the increased CPU load, what slows down the computer and makes it burn more power.
The digital currency mining software was first discovered by the user of uTorrent forum, named ‘Groundrunner’, who noticed a program after the download of the latest uTorrent version. Still, the user noted there was no information about the installment of the program. “It’s easily noticeable by the increased CPU load when the computer is idle,” the user wrote.
However, the company denied the shady installment of mining software. “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,” a senior manager for customer support wrote at uTorrent forum.
In fact, during the updating process, the users are presented with a prompt asking them to accept or decline the software installment. But the problem is that users don’t always notice the prompt.
“Epic Scale is a great partner for us to continue to generate revenue for the company, while contributing funds to good causes. 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 manager added.
BitTorrent Inc., the owner of uTorrent, commented: “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.
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.”