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Are mobile apps safer than websites?

With the surge in hackers and viruses, it is extremely imperative to be aware of our security measures when working online. The question has always been whether to use mobile apps or equivalent mobile websites when focusing on privacy. To find the answer, it is important to know the difference between both.


Mobile website

It has been optimised and scaled to perform in mobile devices. They are web servers that have been adapted to perform well. It can be used on tablets and smartphone formats.


Mobile Apps

If the user is looking forward to a more responsive experience, a mobile website can be more useful for them. It operates faster than the website. A smartphone platform is suitable for its functionality. The app can be downloaded and installed and is quicker in its response and user-friendly.


However, in case of security matters, it is always important to ask the question about privacy protection. David Choffnes, an assistant professor at Northeastern University compares the two platforms in order to establish a conclusive study on which one is the safest to use. The team started off by studying the manner both the platforms tend to leak out information. They found out that it varies and typically a website leaks out 40 per cent more types of information than an app. For example, apps generally leak the unique identifying number of the device whereas a website leaks more crucial information like the locations and names of the users.


Choffness says the answer to which platform should a user choose is completely on the user himself. The research selected 50 of the most widely used online services. It concluded that the functionality is the same in the website and the app. They found that some services tend to send out encrypted passwords to another party. Choffness says, “The reasons for the intentional leaks are legitimate, and I’m sure that the services have appropriate agreements with the other parties to protect the passwords. However, the practice still raises an important issue. The users have no idea that their passwords are being sent to another party.” He hopes that this research will give way to initiate a dialogue between consumers and online services and thus, put an end to the breach of privacy.


Subarna Basu