uTorrent quietly installs a cryptocurrency miner on users' computers

The popular BitTorrent client tries to turn a buck through cryptocurrency, but sends users scrambling for alternatives instead.

The popular BitTorrent client uTorrent is facing a backlash after trying to turn a buck through cryptocurrency mining.

On Thursday, users started reporting that uTorrent had silently installed cryptocurrency software from Epic Scale as part of version 3.4.2 build 28913. Once installed, Epic Scale uses some of the computer's spare processing power to generate cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin or Litecoin).

In response to user complaints, a uTorrent manager confirmed parent company BitTorrent's partnership with Epic Scale, saying the software generates revenue for uTorrent while also contributing some funds to charity. "In the future, Epic Scale plans to contribute CPU cycles to other initiatives, such as Genome mapping and other academic studies that require a great deal of processing power."

However, the manager denied that EpicScale was installing without the user's permission, claiming that uTorrent could not reproduce the issue. That's despite complaints from five users on uTorrent's forums who say the software was installed automatically in the latest update.

In any event, users can partially uninstall EpicScale through the Add/Remove Programs menu in Windows. A registry modification will remain in the ProgramData/Epicscale folder, though users can safely delete this folder once the uninstall is complete. That hasn't stopped dozens of outraged users from swearing off uTorrent in favor of alternatives such as qBittorrent, Deluge, and Transmission.

Why this matters: Cryptocurrency mining burns more than just spare system resources. By making the CPU work harder than it normally would, it also consumes more energy, potentially raising users' electricity bills. While it's ironic that users are aghast at an act of leeching from a program that facilitates media piracy, that doesn't let uTorrent off the hook for a lack of transparency. Some quick backtracking seems likely.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags bittorrentcryptocurrencysoftware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?