Zhou Hongwei, president of Qihoo 360, has announced that the company's new anti-virus software and it will be a permanent free service to its users.

Zhou said at a press conference that he once promised not to enter the anti-virus sector. However, as more and more users are affected by computer viruses, he thought that the company should offer free anti-virus solutions to users. He says that anti-virus along with email, search and instant message all belong to the scope of the basic Internet services which should be offered to users for free.

The 360 anti-virus software is not independent software in the traditional sense. It is a functional module which is merged into the company's 360 Safeguard 5.0 Beta, the latest version of 360 Safeguard.

Referring to the sources of the company's anti-virus software, Zhou says that Qihoo 360 has managed the core and the engines of some virus databases through cooperation with Chinese and international manufacturers. The company has implemented technological cooperation with Antiy Corp. and bought the core engine from Bit Defender, a security manufacturer in Romania. In addition, some of Qihoo 360's virus samples are from Kaspersky, a global anti-virus software provider.

The launch of Qihoo 360's anti-virus software does not mean to impose pressures on other anti-virus software providers, Zhou added. It just aims to lower the threshold of anti-virus software and offer more choices to users.

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