ALEXANDER STEVE MS

Steve Alexander is a technology writer for Minneapolis Star Tribune. (Duane Braley/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Q: We have two phones and two tablet computers using our home Wi-Fi network. Lately all the devices have been getting a “your connection is not private” warning when going to some secure websites (they have “https” addresses) that sell airline or entertainment tickets. I use the Google Chrome browser, but I’ve had the same problem with Mozilla Firefox. How can I fix this?

–– Beth O’Connor, St. Paul, Minn.

A: The warning means that the SSL (secure sockets layer) part of your online connection has encountered a problem.

At worst, it may mean you are connecting to a phony website that will steal your personal information. Less drastically, the warning could mean that the website hasn’t kept its security software up to date, or that it hasn’t updated the electronic “security certificate” that identifies it as authentic.

But the warning can also be triggered at your end of the secure connection by a problem with the computer, web browser or antivirus software. There are several remedies you should try:

— Close the browser, reopen it and try reaching the secure website again.

— Make sure your devices display the correct date and time. A secure connection can only be established if a device and the website that it’s trying to reach agree on those things.

— Some antivirus programs interfere with https (HyperText Transfer Protocol secure) connections. If possible, turn off the antivirus features “SSL scan” or “https scan.” If you can’t, temporarily turn off the antivirus software (if that works, get a different antivirus program.)

— Try emptying your browser’s cache. It holds data from previously viewed websites and can interfere with the way web pages load. (See tinyurl.com/ycg59c54 for Chrome.) When clearing data, check only the box next to “cached images and files.” (See tinyurl.com/m6pngn5

Q: When I listen to online music using a smartphone with Bluetooth wireless headphones, I keep getting the error message “unfortunately Bluetooth Share has stopped.” I’ve tried clearing the Bluetooth data cache on my phone, an HTC Desire 610, but it doesn’t help. What should I do?

–– Lorelei Hass, Anchorage, Alaska

A: The issue is likely fixed by emptying the “system cache partition” that temporarily stores phone data to speed up apps.

Turn off the phone, and then press and hold the “volume-up” and “volume-down” buttons at the same time. Hold down the “power” (on-switch) button until the phone vibrates, and then release it. Continue holding down the two volume buttons until “Android system recovery” appears, then use the volume-down button to select “wipe cache partition.” Hold down the power button to make that choice, and then choose “reboot system now.”

If that doesn’t work, back up (and later restore) your phone data using either a computer (download the free “HTC Sync Manager” at tinyurl.com/yadhw5nn ) or a MicroSD memory card (see tinyurl.com/ycboulur ). Then do a “master reset” of the phone, which wipes out all data and returns the phone to its factory settings (see tinyurl.com/yd8kjy2s

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Steve Alexander covers technology for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Readers may write to him at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488-0002; email: steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Please include a full name, city and phone number.

Copyright 2018 Tribune Content Agency.

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