The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Wednesday, February 25

Hewlett-Packard lowers outlook ... Visa tech may prep Europe for Apple Pay ... Gemalto says encryption keys are safe ... and more tech news

Cook announces Apple iPay

Cook announces Apple iPay

Hewlett-Packard lowers outlook as its struggles continue

Hewlett-Packard reported another quarter of declining sales and profit on Tuesday, and blamed a strong dollar as it lowered its outlook for the current quarter and the year. Revenue was $26.8 billion, down 5 percent from a year earlier, while net profit was down 4 percent to $1.4 billion. Sales in the personal systems group were flat, but declined in both the printing and enterprise services divisions.

Is Visa priming Europe for Apple Pay?

Visa Europe is rolling out the security technology that Apple Pay uses to process payments, a development that may set the stage for Apple's mobile payment system to debut in the region. By the middle of next month, member banks in Europe will be able to process tokens, technology that replaces credit card numbers with a random series of numbers that are transmitted when a smartphone or wearable device is used for payment.

Gemalto denies that spies stole SIM encryption keys

SIM-card maker Gemalto has investigated reports that U.K. and U.S. intelligence agencies hacked into its network several years ago, and said that while that may explain incidents of "sophisticated intrusion" it noted in 2010 and 2011, it doesn't believe encryption keys were taken. Reports last week claimed that GCHQ and the NSA had stolen keys to encryption implemented in the SIM cards, which are used in mobile phones by hundreds of wireless carriers around the world.

Students worldwide getting free Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office 365 has been made available for free to U.S. students since 2013, but on Tuesday the company said the offer now applies anywhere in the world. Schools must license Office in order for their students to be eligible. Microsoft undoubtedly hopes to develop brand loyalty in a new generation.

EC's Oettinger warns Facebook and Google on selling personal data

Günther Oettinger is relatively new to the position of Europe's digital czar, but he's wasting no time putting U.S. tech companies on notice over the sensitive issue of how personal data is used, the Wall Street Journal reports. On Tuesday he accused them of "exploiting legal loopholes in Europe to gather and sell individuals' personal data." He made the remarks in a speech calling for a single set of rules for data protection in the EU, which would combat the tendency of U.S. companies to set up shop in countries where they find the laws most favorable.

Hackers are lurking for months posing as legit users

The latest Threat Report from FireEye's Mandiant forensics service says that hackers are hanging out inside company networks posing as legitimate users for long periods of time, and are moving away from using malware that is noticed quickly. And increasingly they are gaining VPN access: Mandiant said attackers obtained VPN login credentials more in 2014 than ever before.

Apple says it will appeal iTunes patent verdict

A U.S. court has ordered Apple to pay $532.9 million to a Texas patent licensing firm because its iTunes software was found to infringe on three patents. An Apple spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the company will appeal, saying "We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system."

Anthem says data breach affected 78.8 million customers

Health insurer Anthem is still trying to figure out exactly how many customer records were stolen from its database in a massive hack revealed early this month, but its latest estimate is 78.8 million. The company is still trying to identify everyone who was affected, and is under pressure from government officials to step up its notification of potential victims.

Watch now:

If the idea of being picked up by a giant robot teddy bear doesn't scare you, you may not fear growing bedridden in Japan.

One last thing

Hypochondriacs, take heed! Companies -- led by Google -- are collecting data when you go online for information on symptoms and diseases, says this Motherboard report.

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IDG News Service staff

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