China’s Epic Anti-Antiware War

Thanks to guest author Vrantheo of Lost Signal network for this insightful article!

This month we shall witness a whole bunch of ongoing epic Chinese Internet drama, during which almost all the “major” software companies started to claim each other’s products as “malware” and started trying to delete each other.

The Backstory

Most people here might not know much about the Chinese software market, so I’ll try explaining simply.

First of all, 360 is the crappiest software brand which claims to be some kind of “safety software”, and more than 70% of the Chinese newbs use it. What it does is take over Windows Update, “managing” installed programs, “optimizing” system performance, etc, basically what an average idiot doesn’t know Windows itself can already do.

lol anthropomorphism

360 used to be “technically” an anti-virus but has lost that designation since their cooperation with Kaspersky broke up a few years ago. (Fun fact: 360 also used to cooperate with NOD32). But 360 still ambiguously claims to have anti-virus or similar functions. (Like what? Turning off autoplay?) It even claimed to be the one that saved China from massive Stuxnet attacks before Microsoft gave out official hotfixes or something (which is obviously a lie because Stuxnet didn’t really care about the Chinese, or did it?) Kaspersky China wrote an article to criticize 360 and 360 went bawww. Kaspersky was also butthurt because 360 had been prompting their users to disable Kaspersky, saying “it’s a resource eater and it sucks balls blah blah blah just use ours” etc.

On the other hand, Tencent is one of the most influential companies in China, thanks to its famous instant messaging product QQ. Under that name brand, Tencent also develops lots of newbie-friendly software which are not very different from 360′s. (To be honest, IMO it is because there are so many noobs in China that only the companies which cater to their needs can get profit.) However, Tencent products are also constantly accused of plagiarism, monopoly, too many bundles and spying on users’ HDDs for “no apparent reason”.

I’ve served you for more than a decade! Are you going to dump me upon hearing some pointless rumors?!

Baidu is the Chinese equivalent of Google (duh). Whoever pays the most money gets to the top of their search results (especially phishing sites LOL). The image search section occasionally gets flooded by pr0n. It also maintains an online community which is similar to but definitely even worse than 4chan, but with rather heavy c*****ship sometimes. Baidu is not happy with 360 now because 360 openly claims to be against its behavior of putting ads everywhere.

Kingsoft used to be a pretty cool company, it’s office suite pwning Microsoft Office in the 90s to a certain extent. But nowadays, WPS has become nothing more than a Office 2003 knockoff and the company itself focuses more on anti-virus, generic online gaming and some other miscellaneous stuff. Kingsoft’s anti-virus is “ok” and quite mainstream (and also quite expensive). There’s nothing much about its story with 360 but we can also assume what was going on there.

Maxthon is a better known one among the many rip-off browsers existing in China. Got involved in the drama because “360 Secure Browser” being the ******est.

Keniu is relatively a new company but quickly gained fame with its free anti-virus product, which “uses Kaspersky’s engine”. Was about to merge with Kingsoft but the plan was foiled somehow. 360 used to forcefully interrupt its installation for obvious reasons.

The Drama

It all started with 360 developing something to “prevent QQ from spying on user data”. Showing a fake Process Explorer popup,  Tencent fought back with a “NO U”. Both sides began to make their apps constantly pop up annoying messages to the desktops making mutual accusations and trying to win over the users’ trust.

“I’m the only one that really cares for your safety and privacy!”

Later 360′s “safety app” declared war against even more other products as mentioned above. Keniu even specifically made a “361″ just to counter 360. Now it’s nearly impossible for all these apps to co-exist in one computer because they’ll end up trying to disable or delete each other, with or without letting the user decide. Imagine a cliche harem comedy where you get to be “the guy”:

“He belongs to me! You’re just some selfish brat who doesn’t care about more than your own profits!”
“Look who’s talking! I’m just protecting him from you sneaking around and doing nasty things to him!”
“Err… Do I have a say in this?”
…or something like that.

It’s Still Going On

The companies are about to get into lawsuits. And we wouldn’t know what would be coming next. The majority of the “netizens” are rather entertained with the drama. However, quite a lot of them only think of something like “competitions are great because customers can benefit”, without realizing the fact that they’re total noobs who still rely on this kind of unnecessary bloatware to get things done. On the other hand, they’re the intellectual ones who simply laugh over this and don’t give many comments other than “heh, they all suck, why would I care”, or even bother writing such a tl;dr article poking the jokes at the whole thing on a foreign obscure blog site.


Devops guy, Docker fanboy, your average everyday opinionated nerd.