Allegations against Chinese anti-virus company Qihoo 360 are doing little to quell fears about using Chinese security software.

At least three of the world's top testing laboratories — Virus Bulletin, AV-Comparatives and AV-Test Institute — have revoked certifications for Qihoo 360's products because of the cheating. The bodies stated that Qihoo 360 provided one set of results for certification, but then provided consumers a version of the software that had a "considerably lower level of protection".

For its part, Qihoo 360 says, " The allegation highlights that the default configuration of the product available for the public, differs from the configuration used by the labs for testing. This configuration was explicitly declared upon submission of the tests, and was thereafter confirmed by the test labs."

The company further states, "In the public version, 3rd party engine is off by default, in the consideration that the majority of our users, are running on lower computing power. To satisfy lab conditions, the consideration of power constraint was therefore discarded. In any case, no alleged comment indicates that the level of protection from the product, is lower than the records achieved during the testing sessions."

The provision of a less secure version of the software to consumers confirms suspicions by some China Internet watchers that Chinese security software companies purposely discount the efficacy of their solutions to give the Chinese government a softer means to penetrate users' computers. It also confirms worries that Chinese security companies may not always follow generally accepted global guidelines for testing and distributing software to netizens.

Qihoo 360 says it will continue to submit more data to the bodies in the hopes of regaining certification.


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