The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Wednesday, February 11

Kill switches lower smartphone thefts ... Anthem hit for failure to communicate ... IBM's Watson is learning Japanese ... and more tech news

Smartphone in danger.

Smartphone in danger.

Smartphone thefts fall after kill switches come in

Law enforcement officials who pushed hard for vendors to make smartphones a less attractive target for theft by adding "kill switch" features are pleased to know the tactic is working. Statistics to be released Wednesday show smartphone thefts, particularly for iPhones, trending down significantly in New York, London and San Francisco.

Anthem hit for failure to communicate

Inadequate security practices let hackers steal personal information on about 80 million customers of Anthem, and now inadequate follow-up with those victims by the health insurer has attorneys general in ten U.S. states demanding immediate action. Anthem said last week it would offer free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to victims, but since then, the AGs say, it has provided few additional details and no information about how individuals can sign up. They're demanding that the insurer commit to reimbursing consumers for hack-related losses incurred between the breach and whenever victims get access to credit and identity theft safeguards.

Why a giant multinational is trying crowdfunding

Sony isn't joining the film students and musicians on Indiegogo because it needs to find $50,000. Rather, it's put its MESH project on the crowdfunding site as a way to get early adopters to give it feedback on an innovative new project before it goes to market. Now if only Google had thought of that with Glass!

IBM's Watson is learning Japanese

IBM has struck a deal with SoftBank Telecom to bring its Watson cognitive computing technology to Japan, a move that will add the Japanese language to the system's repertoire and expand its use across new frontiers. Besides hosting and reselling Watson tech, Softbank is aiming to get independent developers to build new capabilities for the platform, the New York Times reports.

New U.S. Cyber Threat center is all about the information

The U.S. is setting up the new Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center in an effort to improve communication among network defenders, government agencies and law enforcement, says a senior Obama administration official. The CTIIC won't take over the cybersecurity responsibilities of other agencies but will be modeled after the National Counterterrorism Center, established after Sept. 11, 2001, to coordinate information about terrorist threats.

Apple breaks a new stock market record: $711 billion at the close

Apple stock has traded at levels that valued the company above $700 billion before, but Tuesday marked the first day that its stock closed (at $122.02) at a level that crossed the benchmark -- and then some -- to $711 billion. The Wall Street Journal says that's a first for a U.S. company. Number two Exxon Mobil has a market cap of about $385 billion while the closest tech competitor is number four Microsoft at $349 billion.

Chinese hackers targeted banks and military via ad on Forbes.com

Security researchers say that a Chinese hacking group infiltrated the Forbes.com site in November and used it to launch targeted attacks against site visitors from U.S. banking and defense companies. The attack took advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 and was launched from the "Thought of the day" Flash widget that appears when people first visit the financial magazine's site, said Invincea.

Watch now

Boston Dynamics is showing off its latest robots -- including an electricity-powered "dog" with sensors sophisticated enough to allow it to stay upright when kicked.

One last thing

Intel made waves at CES with a pledge to spend $300 million increasing diversity in its ranks. Here's what that promise really means.

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IDG News Service staff

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