µTorrent removed EpicScale from the µTorrent update installation package after receiving thousands of complaints that the cryptocurrency mining software was being installed to users’ computers without their consent, according to a statement made by µTorrent.
Users claimed that µTorrent forced them to install EpicScale alongside the updates silently, though users installing µTorrent for the first time also say EpicScale was installed, according to Trusted Reviews.
Each person who complained in the µTorrent forum confirmed that yes, EpicScale is installed, and that no, the installation was not authorized. Each complaining user confirmed they did not press a button to agree to install the software, and that they traced the EpicScale installation back to the µTorrent update.
Did the µTorrent update install EpicScale without user permission? Probably not, say both EpicScale and µTorrent.
Despite the assurances, hundreds, and possibly thousands, of users flocked to the µTorrent forums intent on complaining about the issue last week, according to Inquisitr. The sheer volume of complaints is what prompted µTorrent to halt the EpicScale offers and investigate the issue further, while EpicScale also promised to investigate further.
The following is according to µTorrent staff member Retro3.
“Amid user feedback, on Fridaymid-day [sic] we paused the offer to allow time for us to do an evaluation … This offer has been made to Windows client installs only, not Mac or Linux machines. It was released to about 6 [percent] of our global population between mid-January and March 6th [sic] 2015.”
Retro3 confirmed that µTorrent uses “partner offers” to make money, which is pretty standard with software developers. He then added the following.
“That being said — from the feedback we’ve received, it is clear that we misjudged how users would react to this offer; this software is truly different from our previous offers and therefore deserves special attention. For this, we unequivocally apologize to our affected users.”
EpicScale posted a statement that confirmed the partner offer is “always offered on a 100 [percent] opt-in basis,” and µTorrent posted a statement Saturday to say that there is no silent install happening. EpicScale apologized for the reports of failed removal of the program, and that those having issues removing EpicScale should use their utility to remove it from the host computer.
On the other hand, BitTorrent, µTorrent’s parent company, maintained the problem wasn’t on their end, according to the Verge, saying, “Most likely these users accepted the offer during install.”
Given the hundreds who said they are moving to another bit torrent program, this might have been one µTorrent update controversy too many.
Update: BitTorrent has clarified via email that they’ve only received 10 user complaints on the issue and have addressed each in turn.
“Neither we, nor any third party including the media, have been able to reproduce the ‘silent update.’ But we are continuing to investigate and will keep our users updated.”
[Screenshot via EpicScale]