uTorrent (μTorrent) users have been up in arms over the apparent bundling of mining malware that comes with the download of their client.
The malware, called EpicScale, silently mines litecoins in the background, depleting resources, reducing performance and consuming energy.
uTorrent is reportedly the most popular BitTorrent client outside China, with over 100 million users. BitTorrent clients allow for the rapid transfer of files and data in p2p fashion, avoiding bottlenecks of the cloud and enhancing user privacy. uTorrent was designed to be a smaller, more efficient version of BitTorrent.
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Mining malware has previously been used to infect a variety of infrastructure including mobile phones, video surveillance equipment and even supercomputing systems. Last year, those who were impatient for the “Watch Dogs” official release and downloaded it via torrents also got a dose of some bitcoin mining malware.
uTorrent users reported getting infected with EpicScale without ever having agreed to its installation. BitTorrent reportedly entered into some arrangement with EpicScale in order to generate revenues. Other potential revenue streams for BitTorrent are a paid version with enhanced features, and advertising which can be disabled.
A BitTorrent representative reportedly denied that the malware is downloaded without user consent, saying that users forgot to unclick the “deny offer” option during installation. He further argued, “In the last 24 hours we have received less than a dozen inquiries out of several million offers. That should put things into perspective.”
To remove all traces of EpicScale, users should: (1) uninstall the program, (2) expose and delete any hidden program files and (3) delete its records from the registry.