uTorrent Pack-In Software is a Bitcoin Miner
Information has been released earlier today by TrustedReviews.com that the latest version of uTorrent, 3.4.2 build 28913 (32-bit) is silently installing a Bitcoin mining software. Multiple users have reported on the uTorrent forums (currently down, apparently due to high volume of traffic) that while installing the latest version of uTorrent there was a silent install of “Epic Scale” which is a distributed Bitcoin mining program. Think Folding@home (which solves protein folding to help with cancer research) but for mining Bitcoin to earn money for… well… someone.
According to Trusted Reviews, uTorrent has flatly denied that the install is silent and that
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.”
Whatever the case, the fact is that uTorrent is packing in software that is potentially unwanted, which is usually a low grab for money. Epic Scale is purportedly a charitable organization, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s never okay to sneak software onto someone’s computer; whether with an “opt-out” check-box or a silent install.
Please consider using any of the numerous Open Source torrent applications that exist in the wonderful world of FOSS, I recommend Deluge, a Free Open Source client that works for Windows, Mac and Linux. Please, for the love of all that is good and right, uninstall uTorrent and then download Deluge or any other open source torrent program (qbittorrent is another great one!). There are no ads, no pack-in software, nothing but a wonderful stream of bits headed to your computer, which is how it should be.
This is another example of why I usually choose an open source application over a closed source one, when there is a viable alternative. With open source this is a far less common issue. Though I have been troubled lately by SourceForge, who has started to utilize “downloader tools” for a lot of the applications they host.
Ultimately you should be doing a sanity-check with any program you download from the internet and don’t be afraid to carefully read the agreement before you install something. Then again, I’m the kind of guy that catches typos in “terms of service” agreements and notifies the legal team of the software, so I’m admittedly kind of weird.