Tencent will start a large-scale action aimed at eliminating illegally installed functions and spyware from its QQ instant messaging software in China.

The functions that will be blocked include showing of users' IP addresses and showing whether a user is in an invisible state. The action reportedly targets a spyware program called Caihong QQ. For Tencent's QQ, malware and spyware programs can monitor the various online activities of QQ's users in addition to their friend lists, personal accounts and passwords. Recently, Caihong QQ has been one of the most actively installed QQ spyware programs. Its functions like showing of users' IP addresses and showing whether a user is in an invisible state harm users' privacy. Therefore, Tencent decided to focus on the fight against Caihong QQ and to block these illegal functions.

A representative from QQ's security department at Tencent told local media that the Caihong QQ once manipulated the computers of users to send a large amount of data packets in an apparent denial-of-service attack. Its activity is very similar with that of Worm.Zotob virus and it seriously interrupted the normal communications of users. So Tencent must now try to limit it by technical means. At present, the company is undergoing a large-scale investigation to ensure the communications security of Chinese netizens.

Rumors passed around online state that the Caihong QQ has something to do with the Chinese SNS website 51.com and the Caihong QQ will launch a new version soon, which will bind a 51.com business promotion function. Other sources say that the reason for Tencent's lawsuit against its former 15 employees, who collectively hopped to 51.com, was because these employees were related to the development of QQ spyware programs.

However, Tencent stated that the company will give no comment on unconfirmed rumors.


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