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|Founded||London, United Kingdom, 2005|
|Founder||Zhou Hongyi (Chairman, CEO, co-founder), Qi Xiangdong (President, director, co-founder)|
|Zhou Hongyi, Qi Xiangdong, Cao Shu (Chief Engineer & Director), Xu Zuoli Alex (Co-CFO), Yao Jue (Co-CFO)|
|Revenue||$1.39 billion (2014)|
|$222.8 million (2014)|
Number of employees
Qihoo 360 (Chinese: 奇虎 360; pinyin: Qíhǔ Sānliùlíng; approximate pronunciation CHEE-hoo), full name Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd., is a Chinese internet security company known for its antivirus software (360 Safeguard, 360 Mobile Safe), Web browser (360 Secure Browser), and mobile application store (360 Mobile Assistant). It was founded by Zhou Hongyi and Qi Xiangdong in June 2005. Qihoo 360 have ≈500 million users for its Internet Security products and over 600 million users for its Mobile Antivirus products as of June 2014.
Qihoo 360 initiated its business operations by selling third-party antivirus software online. Soon afterwards they realized the potential of the freemium business model in the Chinese market and started providing their own antivirus products free of charge. In a short period of time, Qihoo 360's security products gained popularity and market share in China. Their current revenues are generated by leveraging their massive user base through online advertising and services such as online games, remote technical support, and system integration.
- 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) layout technology and Webkit (Google Chrome, Safari) layout technology, meaning that depending on the page being requested by the user, the 360 Browser chooses the optimal layout technology for that webpage.
- 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 and general security product.
- 360 Total Security - Qihoo's newest product which cleans and speeds up Windows for global users.
Qihoo 360's main revenue sources include advertising space on 360 Startup Page, as well as revenue sharing with independent games developers which 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.
In the summer of 2012, Qihoo 360 entered the smartphone market by launching the Battleship phone together with Haier, the large Chinese consumer electronics company. Qihoo 360 said 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.
Later in 2012, Qihoo 360 entered the search market by launching so.com, thereby directly competing with Baidu, the dominant search engine in China. Qihoo's share of unique visitors grew to 10.52%. "Sōu" (搜) in Chinese means "search". On July 18, 2013, Qihoo launched its new search engine leidian.com, which aimed at increasing its presence in the mobile market. At the end of July in 2013 Qihoo was in early talks to acquire Sohu.com’s Sogou.com search engine for around $1.4 billion. In early 2015, Qihoo rebranded its so.com search engine to redirect to haosou.com. "Hao" in Chinese means good; Haosou directly translated to English means "good search engine".
On December 18, 2015, Qihoo 360 said it agreed to be acquired by a group of investors in a deal valued at about $9.3 billion. On July 15, 2016, Qihoo 360 announced the finalization of its take-private transaction.
Antivirus test results
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.
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 CA business; WoSign has been accused of poor control and misissuing certificates. Furthermore, Mozilla alleges that WoSign and StartCom are in violation of 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.
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. 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.
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 connects to the server on a regular basis (e.g., every 5 minutes), and allows it to download files of any type (including executables) from the server."
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. 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.
Widespread streaming webcasts of security footage in China
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.
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