Q: Several times a day, I get a pop-up on my Samsung Galaxy S7 phone that says “Kskas.apk” is ready to download. I assume this is malicious software, so I always delete the message. But is there any way to stop these pop-ups from appearing on my phone?
Glenn Correnti, Metairie, La.
A: Congratulations on avoiding Kskas.apk, which is malware for your phone’s Android operating system. It can display advertising on your phone, and can aid in the theft of your personal information if you accept its phony “security update.”
You can get rid of the malware threat and its recurring messages by making a small change in your phone’s settings. But that same settings change will inconvenience you a bit if you like to download new Android apps.
What’s going on? Right now, your phone’s Android settings allow you to download apps from any website you choose. The Kskas.apk malware takes advantage of that openness through what are called “drive-by downloads.” These are downloads that are “pushed” to your phone by disreputable websites, even though you didn’t request them. Every time you get another drive-by download, the message urging you to install the malware reappears. While your refusal to install the app prevents it from infecting your phone, the creators of Kskas.apk apparently hope you’ll get tired of saying “no.”
The only way to get rid of these recurring drive-by downloads is to disable an Android feature called “unknown sources,” which allows you to download apps from anywhere. To do that, go to “settings,” then “security” (on some Android devices it may be called “lock screen and security”) and turn off “unknown sources.”
When you do that, the phone is restricted to downloading new software apps only from the Google Play store. As a result, the phone ignores drive-by downloads and you don’t receive any messages about them.
Are you giving up your ability to download the legitimate Android apps that are available outside the Google Play store? No. You’ll just have to turn on “unknown sources” every time you want to download one of those apps. To be safe, remember to turn off the setting again after you’ve downloaded the app you want.
Q: I use Microsoft’s Edge browser to connect to CenturyLink’s e-mail website. But when I try to reply to an e-mail, the website will not show my keystrokes unless I use the option to switch from “format as HTML” to “format as plain text.” What should I do to fix this?
Ruel Carpenter, Circle Pines, Minn.
A: I suspect that the problem lies in Microsoft’s Edge browser, which remains a work in progress (see tinyurl.com/lktop6z). Edge uses a new version of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), a technology that gives websites their characteristic appearance (type size, color and graphics) and functionality (such as links to other websites.) To avoid HTML-related problems with your e-mail, use Google’s Chrome browser instead (download it at tinyurl.com/qbud93e).
If that doesn’t work, try temporarily disabling your antivirus software to see if it’s interfering with your ability to type HTML messages (see CenturyLink’s tips at tinyurl.com/yc4fycjx).
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