The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Friday, February 6

China suspected in Anthem breach ... NSA used data stolen by hackers ... IBM gives more Watson power to app devs ... and more news

China -- and lax security -- suspected in massive data breach at Anthem

Initial investigations into the huge data breach at U.S. health insurerer Anthem are pointing to techniques used by hackers with ties to a nation-state, and China is a leading suspect. What's apparently not in doubt is poor security practices: Anthem had not encrypted millions of people's personal information that was stolen. While that information can enable common identity theft, what's more worrisome to consumers is the medical identity theft and fraud that may result.

The NSA took advantage of hackers' caches

The U.S. National Security Agency and its intelligence partners in Canada and the U.K. have sifted through data stolen by state-sponsored and freelance hackers on a regular basis in search of valuable information, the Intercept reported. The disclosures are the latest leaks from documents obtained by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden

IBM gives developers access to more Watson smarts

Some cool new features may be making their way into apps via IBM's Watson Developer Cloud, which lets coders enhance their apps with advanced analysis and data processing capabilities. The new services that IBM is making available can convert text to speech (and vice versa), recognize images, search a set of data by concept, and help users make decisions.

Proposed law would rein in patent trolls

Tech groups are applauding the reintroduction of U.S. legislation on Thursday that would limit the ability of patent trolls to file abusive infringement lawsuits. The Innovation Act overwhelmingly passed in the House of Representatives in December 2013, but the Senate then failed to act on the legislation. It has support from both parties and takes aim at businesses that use patent licensing and lawsuits as their primary source of revenue.

Talk about wearables: clothing maker buys two app companies

Sporting apparel company Under Armour is spending $560 million to buy two fitness apps, giving it access to a mountain of data about health enthusiasts that it hopes will help it to sell more sportswear. The maker of hoodies, running shorts and other athletic wear will pay $475 million to buy MyFitnessPal, and $85 million for Danish company Endomondo.

Iconic Radio Shack chain files for bankruptcy

The store that fueled the imaginations of generations of U.S. inventors is likely to disappear: Radio Shack has filed for bankruptcy. The 94-year old chain, which sells all manner of electronics but also was a reliable source for the components that tinkerers and fixers love, will sell between 1,500 and 2,400 of its 4,000 U.S. stores, and is discussing the sale of all its other assets worldwide.

VMware exec is moving to the White House

The head of VMware's global IT group, Tony Scott, has been tapped for the job of U.S. federal CIO. Scott's resume includes stints at Microsoft, General Motors and the Walt Disney Company. His challenge will be achieve the cost cuts and speed the government is planning in its IT investments, including the deployment of agile methodologies for software development, data center consolidation and the use of cloud.

Watch now

On this week's World Tech Update, Samsung preps for the launch of a new smartphone, the FCC proposes new net neutrality rules and a robot could help the Navy fight fires.

One last thing

What went wrong for Google Glass, the super-hyped wearable that failed (at least for now)? Here's a history of the project -- the good, the bad, and the gossip.

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Tags business issuesGoogleIBMsecurityU.S. National Security AgencyinternetVMwareUnder ArmourAnthemRadio Shack

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IDG News Service staff

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