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Obama chooses cybersecurity czar

Seven months after he announced the creation of a White House cybersecurity coordinator, President Obama has selected industry veteran Howard Schmidt for the job. Schmidt has a long history in the IT security sector and has served in the White House before as vice chairman of the president’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board. He’s a former chief information security officer at eBay, chief security officer at Microsoft and has worked with federal and local law enforcement and the Defense Department.

Hackers rob millions from Citibank with Russian software

U.S. authorities are reportedly investigating the theft of tens of millions of dollars from Citibank by hackers, partly using Russian software tailored for the attack.

The security breach at the major U.S. bank was detected mid-year based on traffic from Internet addresses formerly used by the Russian Business Network gang, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report left unclear who the money was stolen from but said a program called Black Energy, designed by a Russian hacker, was one tool used in the attack. The tool can be used to command a botnet, a large group of computers infected by malware and controlled by an attacker. This year a modified version of the software appeared online that could steal banking information, and in the Citi attack a version tailored to target the bank was used, the report said.

Firefox 3.5 more popular than IE7

The latest version of Mozilla’s Firefox browser, 3.5, is now more popular than the most popular version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, IE7, according to Web analytics company StatCounter. However, all versions of each browser taken together, Internet Explorer is still used by more people than Firefox, the company said. Last week, 21.4 percent of visitors to the sites StatCounter tracks used Firefox 3.5, while 21.2 percent used IE7. 20.3 percent of them used IE8.

BlackBerry gets second Chinese carrier

China Telecom plans to offer service for the popular BlackBerry handset from Research In Motion (RIM), the company said Tuesday, making it the second Chinese carrier to do so. The other, China Mobile, previously offered the BlackBerry in China for large business users, but it only this month said it would start offering the device to consumers and small businesses as well. RIM this month also said it plans to make a version of the BlackBerry that uses a 3G standard promoted by China Mobile and the Chinese government, TD-SCDMA.

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