uTorrent might still be one of the -- if not the -- most popular BitTorrent clients in the world, but that doesn't mean that it's one that everyone is happy with. In recent years, the software has suffered the fate of so many others: It was awesome in the beginning -- lightweight and stable -- but over time grew bloated, thanks in big part to subtle and not-so-subtle advertising.
If you frequent BitTorrent-related communities at all, you've no doubt seen a trend when it comes to uTorrent: Almost no one recommends the latest version. Instead, many who take torrenting seriously stick with an aged version, 2.2, which came out in 2010.
Given that, you might imagine that the folks behind uTorrent would consider going back to their roots, but not so. Things could be even getting worse, in fact, as it seems the latest version of uTorrent bundles in a Litecoin miner -- something some people might consider worse than malware.
uTorrent says that the software it bundles is opt-in, and that's all fine and good, except for the fact that despite the opt-in, a lot of people are going to absentmindedly install it. After all, if an app you use tells you to update, you're probably just going to click "Yes" to everything so it can stop nagging you. Ideally, no one would do that, but even as someone who's cautious when it comes to this kind of thing, I still find myself failing at it sometimes.
In order for a coin miner to work, it must stress the computer (namely, the processor) in order to compute complex algorithms. If run all the time, that means that it will make a significant difference on someone's power bill, and that's of course not something anyone is going to agree to.
On one hand, it's hard to not understand that a company like BitTorrent has to make money, but on the other, in whose mind is it proper to install what's in effect a CPU stresser on someone's PC in pursuit of that money?
To uTorrent's benefit, the software, created by Epic Scale, looks to donate money earned to important charities, as well as "solve math problems". Still, while its intent is good, it's still very shady of uTorrent to be so casual about installing such software on user PCs. Perhaps also shady is that as soon as this news broke, uTorrent's forums went offline.