Qihoo 360

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Qihoo 360
TypePrivate
IndustryComputer software
FoundedLondon, United Kingdom, 2005; 16 years ago (2005)
FounderZhou Hongyi (Chairman, CEO, co-founder), Qi Xiangdong (President, director, co-founder)
HeadquartersBeijing, China
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Zhou Hongyi, Qi Xiangdong, Cao Shu (Chief Engineer & Director), Xu Zuoli Alex (Co-CFO), Yao Jue (Co-CFO)
ProductsSecurity software
ServicesComputer security
Revenue$1.39 billion (2014)[1]
$222.8 million (2014)[1]
Number of employees
4,200
Websitewww.360.cn

Qihoo 360 (Chinese: 360; pinyin: Qíhǔ Sānliùlíng; approximate pronunciation CHEE-hoo), full name Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd., is a Chinese internet security company[2] that has developed the antivirus software programs 360 Safeguard and 360 Mobile Safe, the Web browser 360 Secure Browser, and the mobile application store 360 Mobile Assistant. It was founded by Zhou Hongyi and Qi Xiangdong in June 2005.[3][4] The company's head office is in Chaoyang District, Beijing.[5]

Business model[edit]

Qihoo 360 started its business by selling third-party antivirus software online. Soon afterward, they began offering their own software free of charge using a freemium model. Their current revenues are generated through online advertising and services such as online games, remote technical support, and system integration.

Products[edit]

  • 360 Internet Security – PC security product, launched on June 11, 2013.
  • 360 Mobile Security – Mobile security product for Android, launched on June 11, 2013.
  • 360 Safeguard – Internet security product including antivirus and system performance optimization.
  • 360 Secure Browser – Web browser that features integrated Trident (Internet Explorer) and Webkit (Google Chrome, Safari) layout technology, which allows the browser to choose the optimal layout technology for each website.
  • 360 Mobile Assistant – Mobile application store that enables users to download, install and manage Android apps from their PC.
  • 360 Security – International version of mobile antivirus.

Financials[edit]

Qihoo 360's main revenue sources include online advertising on the 360 Startup Page and revenue sharing with independent game developers who have published their games on the 360 Mobile Assistant. The revenue breakdown in 2012 was split between the revenue streams as follows: 67% from advertising, 31% from internet value-added services, and less than 1% from selling third-party software. The revenues increased by 96.0% from $167.9 million in 2011 to $329.0 million in 2012. As of January 2014, the market cap is $11.42B.[citation needed]

History[edit]

In the summer of 2012, Qihoo 360 entered the smartphone market by launching the Battleship phone together with the large Chinese electronics company Haier.[6] Qihoo 360 stated that Haier will provide the hardware while Qihoo 360 will focus on customising the software, albeit the main operating system will be Android. Qihoo 360 received over 220,000 pre-orders for the phone the first day.[7]

Later in 2012, Qihoo 360 launched the search engine so.com, thereby directly competing with Baidu, the most prominent search engine in China. Qihoo's share of unique visitors grew to 10.52% of the total search engine market in China.[8] "Sōu" (搜) in Chinese means "search". On July 18, 2013, Qihoo launched its second search engine, leidian.com, which aimed at increasing its presence in the mobile market.[9] At the end of July 2013, Qihoo was in early talks to acquire Sohu.com’s Sogou.com search engine for around $1.4 billion.[10] In early 2015, Qihoo rebranded its so.com search engine as haosou.com. "Hao" in Chinese means good; Haosou directly translated to English means "good search engine".[11]

In December 2013, the company increased its stake in the Brazilian tech company PSafe.[12][13]

On July 11, 2014, the company set up a venture capital fund in Silicon Valley.[14]

On December 18, 2015, Qihoo 360 agreed to be acquired by a group of investors in a deal valued at about $9.3 billion.[15] On July 15, 2016, Qihoo 360 announced the finalization of its take-private transaction.[16]

On July 18, 2016, Qihoo 360 bought most of Opera Software for US$600 million.[17] On 4 November 2016 Golden Brick Capital (Qihoo included) completed the acquisition.[18]

U.S. sanctions[edit]

In May 2020, Qihoo 360 and other Chinese companies were placed on the Bureau of Industry and Security's Entity List due to U.S. national security concerns.[19][20] The U.S. accused Qihoo 360 and others of playing roles in the crackdown in Xinjiang by "enabling China’s high-technology surveillance" in Xinjiang. On 25 May, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian strongly criticized the step, asking the US to "revoke the relevant decision and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs".[21]

Controversies[edit]

Lawsuits[edit]

Qihoo has been described by Forbes as a confrontational and litigious company due to its involvement in various anti-competition lawsuits.[22]

The company was involved in lawsuits with Tencent,[22][23] starting with the 360 v. Tencent dispute, as well as other companies such as Baidu,[24] Emiage,[25] Sogou.[26]

Traffic data[edit]

The company has been accused by Anonymous of overstating the volume of traffic to its site to attract advertisers.[27]

Antivirus test results[edit]

The antivirus testing companies AV-Comparatives of Austria, Germany's AV-Test, and Virus Bulletin of the UK have accused Qihoo of providing for testing its anti-virus equipped with a Bitdefender engine, while the consumer version uses Qihoo's own QVM engine.[28][29]

Certificates[edit]

According to documents released by the Mozilla Corporation in 2016, Qihoo appears to have acquired a controlling interest in the previously Israeli-run Certificate Authority "StartCom", through a chain of acquisitions, including the Chinese-owned company WoSign. WoSign also has a certificate authority business; WoSign has been accused of poor control and of misissuing certificates.[30] Furthermore, Mozilla alleges that WoSign and StartCom violate their obligations as Certificate Authorities in respect of their failure to disclose the change in ownership of StartCom; Mozilla is threatening to take action, to protect their users.[31]

Google have stated that their Chrome product will no longer trust by default any certificates signed by StartCom or Wosign roots, starting with Chrome 61.[32] Mozilla have stated that their Firefox product will no longer trust by default any certificates signed by StartCom or WoSign roots, starting with Firefox version 58.[33]

Hidden backdoors[edit]

In 2012, a whistleblower reported a hidden backdoor in 360 Secure Browser. The Product Director of 360 Secure Browser, Tao Weihua, responded that "Whoever has a mind to beat a dog will always be able to find a stick" and accused the whistleblower of "smearing 360 on behalf of Baidu", which the whistleblower said was "the worst professional response in history". Independent analysis of the claim showed that the browser has an "undeclared mechanism (i.e., via ExtSmartWiz.dll) which regularly connects to the server (e.g., every 5 minutes), and allows it to download files of any type (including executables) from the server."[34]

In October 2020, Mnemonic reported the existence of a backdoor affecting a line of children's watches under the Xplora brand manufactured by Qihoo.[35]

Widespread streaming webcasts of security footage in China[edit]

In December 2017, the Chinese Government acted to curtail the widespread webcasting of live security-company-cameras, private webcams, and IP camera footage, voicing concerns of violations of privacy and portrait rights, sanctioning Qihoo.[36][37][38]

Samsung spyware[edit]

In January 2020, a Reddit user reported Qihoo's presence in Samsung mobile phones as a pre-installed storage cleaner in the device settings, from where it sends data packages to Chinese servers. The user could not identify which information is sent specifically, but the post was drawing enough attention to trend on Reddit's front page for a while.[39][40] Later, Samsung representative declared that the only data sent back to Qihoo is generic information needed to optimize storage — specifically naming OS version, phone model, and storage capacity, among other data. Qihoo's main contribution is a reference library for identifying junk files, but that library is stored locally in the utility, and Qihoo never receives data that would allow it to identify a particular file on a user's device.[41]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ "Qihoo 360 Technology Company Limited – Investor Relations – Management". Archived from the original on 2012-07-09.
  4. ^ "CEO profile". Investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  5. ^ "Contact Us Archived 2011-04-05 at the Wayback Machine." Qihoo 360. Retrieved on May 11, 2016. "Address :Building #2, No. 6 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100015, China"
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External links[edit]