Any computer user, who shows even a minimal interest in virus vaccine, would probably heard of “ViRobot”. The product was created by security solution provider Hauri in 1999, a year after the company launched. The vaccine was in rivalry with V3 in Korea since the late 1990s. With the turn of the century, Hauri expanded its business models to providing vaccine for various servers, such as Linux and Unix, and mobiles.
Korea IT Times recently met with Kim, Heechun, Chairman of Hauri and talked about second leap of Hauri after the recent release of PC security solution “ViRobot Internet Security 2011”, mobile security solution “ViRobot Mobile for Android”, server security operating system solution “REDOWL”, and server security solution “ViRobot Server Protection 2011”; Hauri’s 13-year-long know-how accumulated on security solution for operating systems; and, how to prevent damages caused by personal information theft and malicious codes.
Q: What is ViRobot 2011, which recently went on sale, and any other new products
A: First of all, ViRobot Internet Security 2011 is an evolution from ViRobot 5.5 which can be installed on up to 3 PCs by obtaining a license. It contains dual S3 engine which was developed exclusively by Hauri, and world-class Bitdefender engine which enables significant improvement in inspection capability in terms of the resource utilization rate. More importantly, Hauri’s special Stealth Finder technology can effectively find and fix the elusive Rootkit file by its own unique way.
ViRobot Server Protection 2011, which went on sale last year, was developed specially for server OS platform and is our main line for server vaccine program product. It is designed to execute large volume of file and network traffic on server with highest performance, and provides powerful function to deal with frequent DDos attacks.
REDOWL SecuOS, which was launched by our subsidiary company TSonNet in 2008, is popular, not only in Korea but in other countries because it is a security maintenance system solution deals with various types of threats.
Q: What are the countries the products export to
A: For REDOWL, it is exported to the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, China and Mexico. We have set up a local branch in Mexico and the annual sales volume is around $1 million. In Japan, Taiwan, China and the U.S., we are providing our product through OEM under contract with local companies. Especially in Japan, we provide the product exclusively to Fujitsu and The Finance ministry of Japan and other major administration departments are using the REDOWL which is also selected by major commercial banks in the country. Moreover, we are in talks with Japan’s largest mobile phone service provider NTT Docomo, and expect to reach a sales agreement soon.
Q: What are your major domestic markets
A: Hauri’s domestic market share of security solutions is about 30% and we are responsible for security solutions of major corporations such as Samsung Heavy Industries, Hyundai Heavy Industries, and SK Telecom. As for the public sector, we provide our products to the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy, the National Police Aency, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, Small and Medium Business Administration, the Public Procurement Service, the Ministry of welfare, and the Ministry of Employment and Labor.
This year, there was a growing interest on cyber war and national security because of several security breach incidents. Hauri was selected to build the Defense Ministry’s security system and supplied 6,000 units of ViRobot Server Protection 2011 and 260,000 units of ViRobot Internet Security 2011 for PCs, which could be one of our landmarks showing the excellence of our technology. Furthermore, we were selected as the lead business participant for projects in KISA malware analysis and vaccine for the public distribution.
Q: You are the front-runner of the mobile vaccine business not only in domestic market but abroad too, aren’t you
A: Yes, we are. We have raised the need for mobile security solution when we introduced ViRobot Sanne in 2010 which is exclusively for smart phones. Even though Apple showed some discomfort, we held open-demonstration showing smart phone is pretty vulnerable to hacking and tapping resulting a leakage of personal information. That induced a steep rise of the necessity of the security solutions among the smart phone users,
We went on trial sale of ViRobot Mobile for Android and developed some 4,000 mobile malware vaccine samples. Since 2011, we are in partnership with Japan’s Fujitsu and co-developed ViRobot for Fence Mobile, which combines Fujitsu’s mobile device management with Virobot Mobile. Currently, this product is in use by Japan Rail for smart office construction and expected to generate more than $2 million yearly.
For domestic market, we provide our products through Pantech&Curitel sorted by Operating Systems. Individual users can download our product for free through Android market.
Q: People tend to think that foreign-made vaccine program is more stable, what do you think
A: Of course, famous Symantec, McAfee, and Kaspersky have bigger global market shares and people could think that way. However, the spread of virus and malware differ from region to region and it is well known that a domestic company is the best to deal with when malware that is found in that country. Moreover, foreign vaccine companies do not have local centers for technical assistance and are relatively slow in answering a customer’s request. Local vaccine companies can immediately handle emergency situation because they can find the solution on local terms and provide stable overall service. Thus, it is wrong to think that foreign-made vaccines are more stable.
Q: Most vaccine programs that come with notebooks purchased from Samsung or LG are foreign made. But most buyers decide to switch to domestic vaccine solutions after the free trial period expires. Don’t you think that it would be better to just provide vaccines Hauri and other domestic makers as a bundle from start
A: The unit cost for such bundle vaccine is too low. It takes a significant amount for maintenance and repair update, if we install vaccines on Samsung and LG notebooks. But Samsung and LG pay only two to three won for one copy in bundle. Foreign vaccine makers are providing free vaccines for publicity. On the other hand, even for marketing, accumulated loss will only expand when there is an increase in notebook sales, and it will be very difficult to provide proper service.
Q: Presently, local SW business is in poor surroundings. Do you, as a chairman of the world’s best software company, think the situation is getting improved
A: Doing business in SW industry of Korea means taking the negative business environment into consideration. In reality, if we take a university in Seoul as an example, few students major in SW engineering at the undergraduate and graduate school, which shows how the software industry is undervalued in Korea. There were various government measures to nurture the SW industry, but the effort was fruitless since there is no policy to recognize proper value of software. Proper valuation of SW is more important than any government policy.
The maintenance fee of the system is pretty important way to recognize SW’s value and strengthen a company’s competitiveness. It is necessary to raise maintenance fee to 15% to match the level set by advanced countries. But the maintenance fee of this country is mere 8% on average. In order for SW developing companies to keep their competitive edge, they need to have a steady income like the maintenance fee. Illegal copyright is also a problem. Although it is easy to copy, it shouldn’t mean that the software is free, and people here simply think that only hardware needs to be maintained and they don’t even think about software maintenance. It is very encouraging that the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy tried to raise the maintenance ratio.
Q: Lastly, can you give advice on how to prevent “zombie” PC and the importance of security solution
A: Currently, our research team is testing possibilities of automobile, refrigerator chip and memory turning into a “zombie”. For example, we are testing to see whether a car could drive itself to a military base and explode or if a TV could turn itself on and raise its volume to maximum level, electronic equipment could turn into a “zombie”. In that aspect, security solutions are very important. “Zombi” PC can be prevented only by raising the security level. It is important to update Windows to maintain PC security status and periodically update vaccine program for auto inspection to block malwares.