The popular torrent client known as uTorrent has millions of users, many of whom have been using it for a decade. uTorrent (or micro-torrent, as it was sometimes called) gained popularity by living up to its name as a minimalist, fast torrent manager. In recent years, it’s gotten bloated and clunky. The situation has gotten so bad, apparently, that Microsoft and others have started flagging uTorrent as malware. You might agree, depending on your personal definition of malware.
Microsoft has had a dedicated page for uTorrent, listing it as a severe threat to your system, but users didn’t encounter any warnings while running it. That’s starting to change, though. Every modern version of Windows runs the Defender antivirus program, and that software has begun telling users that uTorrent is “Potentially Unwanted Software.”
According to Microsoft, uTorrent has a poor reputation and negatively impacts the performance of your system. The “dangerous” uTorrent executable is quarantined by Windows Defender, preventing it from operating. You can override this action and return uTorrent functional status. Microsoft isn’t alone in flagging uTorrent as malware. NOD32, Sophos, TrendMicro, and others also detect uTorrent has dangerous.
For its part, uTorrent owner BitTorrent Inc says this is just a false positive triggered by an issue in a recent build of the software. It had three different versions of the program available on its site, one of which was only served to 5 percent of users. That one flagged as malware, but BitTorrent doesn’t say why. It does say it stopped offering that version. However, VirusTotal still shows uTorrent as malicious by definitions from Microsoft and others. If you’re brave enough to install the app, you can give it a shot for yourself.
BitTorrent Inc may think this is just a mistake, but the internet has been turning against uTorrent for a long time. You don’t have to look far to hear about serious security flaws and cryptocurrency mining. The free version of uTorrent is also bundled with various adware programs, and the client itself has more ads. No one buys the paid version (this is a torrent client, after all), so we’re only talking about the ad-supported version. It also has buggy and unnecessary streaming services integrated.
According to BitTorrent Inc, all the add-ons are optional during the installation process. Still, if Microsoft thinks uTorrent is bad enough to get a help page that warns of negative impact on your system, it should probably be flagged in Defender.
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