Friday, 1 February 2013

Is Qihoo a fraud? (2)

I blogged before about Qihoo:

"Anonymus Analytics is at it again. This time they accuse Qihoo 360 of being a fraud, fastly overstating their webtraffic".

TechInAsia published a new article: "How Qihoo is Committing Fraud". One excerpt:

Earlier this week, we wrote about the double serving of bad news Chinese web firm Qihoo got when its apps were removed from the iTunes store and China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) handed it an official warning for unfair competition. On Thursday, we finally got to see the details of Qihoo’s transgressions in the warning statement issued by the SAIC.

Qihoo has been using creepy trickery to get people to install its software for years. More than a year ago, New York-based Digital Due Diligence released details on 9 sketchy tactics Qihoo made use of to force users to install its software. A year later, has anything changed? No.

The warning statement the SAIC released yesterday details some of the tactics used by Qihoo to try to trick or force people into installing Qihoo’s software, and then keep it there once it’s installed. Here are some examples of things Qihoo has done, all from the SAIC warning statement:

  • Making uninstalling the anti-virus software difficult.
  • [Faking] incompatibility to prevent the installation of competitors’ software.
  • Giving users of non-Qihoo browsers security warnings suggesting their browsers are unsafe.
  • Using default settings to trick users into installing the 360 Browser along with Qihoo’s security software.
  • Using forced upgrades to change users’ browser and homepage preferences.
  • Tricking users into thinking the 360 Browser download is an official patch from Microsoft.
That last one is a particularly nasty trick Qihoo pulled this past August. Through its “360 Defender” security software, it send users what claimed to be a Microsoft Internet Explorer update patch titled KB360018 that professed to fix “an extremely dangerous security leak.” Users who accepted the patch were then forced to install Qihoo’s 360 Browser.
I suppose a warning from the government is better than nothing, but pretending to be Microsoft in order to spread your own software doesn’t just sound like unfair competition to me, it sounds like fraud. In fact, it is fraud, at least going by the dictionary definition. I’m not sure what Chinese law has to say on the subject, but if what Qihoo is doing is currently legal, it should not be, and if it isn’t legal, the company should be prosecuted, not just warned.

And then the article ends with:

Chinese regulatory authorities should do more to protect users from the fraud and trickery that is perpetrated by Qihoo and other companies like it. An official warning is a good first step, but it is not enough and it should have been issued years ago.

1 comment:

  1. Frankly speaking I had used qihoo 360 and their explorer antivirus and I found them very user friendly. Definitely I hope that qihoo is not a fraud if not no body will support qihoo antivirus anymore.