Would you trust your business to run security software made by a Chinese company? That’s the challenge facing NQ Mobile, China’s biggest mobile-phone security company, which is now attempting to break into the US market.
China is usually seen as the source rather than solution to the myriad internet-borne threats that daily attempt to infiltrate and infect our computers.
Some western security experts see the sinister hand of the Chinese state behind the big coordinated attacks. They the Chinese government condones and may even encourage Chinese hackers to infiltrate western businesses, particularly those operating in sectors that are strategically important to China.
One of the best-known examples of commercial cyber-espionage was Operation Aurora in early 2010, which affected Google and at least 30 other companies.
Google, unusually, admitted to having lost intellectual property during Operation Aurora, which it called a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack” that originated in China.
According to this Bloomberg story, NQmobile does not see this view of China as a hackers’ paradise as a drawback, even though the company has itself been accused of distributing malware — an acusation it denies.
Indeed, it argues that its experience of operating in China’s threat-infested cyberspace gives it an advantage over western security software firms, which dominate this market.
US-listed NQ Mobile was founded in 2005 and has more than 50m active users, mostly in China. The basic version of its software is free, which has allowed the company to build a large user base and capture some 60% of the Chinese market for mobile malware protection. It has more than 5m paying customers.