Users of the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent recently discovered that the program had been installing software on their machines that utilized any idle CPU power on their computers to mine for Litecoin.
As of late, uTorrent has been struggling to keep up with the immense demand for its free product. Despite its immense popularity and user numbers, the company has responded to its financial troubles by bogging down the software package with add-ons and extra features that nobody wants in the first place.
Longtime users are accustomed to the slow creep of adware and spyware into every new version of the torrenting app over the past two years. This latest attempt to make money in any way possible seems to have gone just a bit too far for the program’s loyal fan base.
The software attached to uTorrent, developed by vendor Epic Scale, is tasked with taking up your spare CPU for mining operations.
In response to the uproar of dissatisfied customers, Epic Scale has plainly laid out the situation, not shying away from the fact that what they do is ‘for the greater good’ even if you may have been a little confused when you hit the ‘yes’ box during an installation.
“Epic Scale uses your computer’s idle time to do genomics research, protein folding, image rendering, cryptocurrency mining, and more, then we give a majority of the profits to charities like Watsi (life-changing surgeries), and Immunity Project (HIV vaccine). We do not spy on your browsing behavior or scan your files or anything like that.”
Despite the dismay of the public, the software itself is an optional feature that can be added on (or removed) during the installation of uTorrent.
Although any user should have a reason to be angry that their desktops and laptops are being hijacked by an unknown third-party, in the scope of things this is probably one of the least nefarious schemes we’ve seen in a while.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, just about the best case scenario you could hope for in a situation like this is that the company is donating much of the profit made from these operations to charity.
The organizations actually benefiting from people’s desire to download movies and TV shows for free range from everything such as the Water is Life Foundation, the Immunity Group, and One Degree.
All of these companies have a vested interest in helping the poorest nations gain access to the basics of life, and if they need to poach a little power from BitTorrent users’ PCs — then maybe that’s not the worst trade off our society has ever had to burden.
To quell any privacy concerns in the fallout of the news, Epic Scale have since provided clear instructions on how to manually uninstall their software right on the front of its site, in both a readable and watchable format just to be sure all the bases are covered.