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Antivirus Vendors Head to Court

A growing dispute between Kaspersky Lab and Rising Tech in China is now headed to court after Kaspersky sued Rising Tech for anticompetitive business practices.

The growing dispute, tracked by the Chinese Internet Security Response Team, started when an update issued by Kaspersky for their antivirus products misidentified some of the files associated with the Rising Tech antivirus products as being malicious. This misidentification led to the Rising Tech products being unable to be updated. It is unlikely that the problem was very widespread, as it would have required affected users to be running both Kaspersky and Rising Tech software and updating them whenever a new definitions file was released. Even so, it was still a problem that needed rapid rectification.

Kaspersky, based in Russia, and Rising Tech, a Chinese Antivirus vendor, kept up the slanging match, with Rising Tech accusing Kaspersky of misidentifying files at least 22 times within a six month period, accusing Kaspersky of "show[ing] despise for Chinese users". Rising Tech announced on the 30th of May that they were planning to sue the Beijing office of Kaspersky for unfair competitive practices (though it isn't known whether this suit was brought to court).

Misidentification of critical system files and competitor files is an unfortunately all-too common problem that many antivirus and antimalware vendors have encountered in the past, with several significant incidents taking place in China over recent months. The outcome from the case could have widespread ramifications for antivirus vendors and the misidentification of system and competitor files, so the outcome from the Tianjin No.1 Intermediate People's Court is likely to be watched with interest.

8 July 2007

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