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Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Our cell phones have become an integral part of our society, so much so that many sleep with them by their bed at night or scroll through social media at any given moment throughout the day.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, but our mobile phones and the internet are not always the safest places. Applications, or apps, run different programs that may appear to be just like a website on a computer. And although you may have a security app on your phone or computer, using one over the other runs the risk of being hacked, especially if you are on a public wifi network. Read on for more details.

Smartphones and app security

When it comes to phones, there are apps for just about everything. From posting pictures to finding dates to playing games, it feels like there are infinite possibilities with mobile phones. However, apps are not always the safest bet. Let’s take banking apps for example. When it comes to personal banking, it’s of the utmost importance that your protect your information so no one can use it to steal your money. When banking at home, it’s said that when you use a secure PC in your home wifi network, then you are as good as gold. But when out in public, while using a phone app on public networks, virtually anyone in your same network at that time can see what you are doing. So turning off wifi and using 3G/LTE will be more secure.

There were studies conducted by Northeastern University on whether or not an app should be used for specific purposes based on privacy and security concerns. Whereas apps leak more identifiers than websites, they only leak one kind of information – websites have a tendency to leak more types of information. For example, websites leaked names and locations more often, whereas phones leaked identifiers specific to the device. So, being contingent upon what you want to do, it’s a toss-up when it comes to safety. You’ll have to treat every situation and online purchase on a case-by-case basis depending on what information you put into the website or app.

Who made the app?

Another thing to consider is the trustworthiness of an app. On your computer, you can browse the internet and avoid hackers by refusing to download anything. When you put an app on your phone, you have to download and install it in order to use it, opening yourself to potential malware. Do your research before downloading an app onto your phone and look up the company that made the app. The app store on your phone will have that information and developers are often ranked online by their trustworthiness and how many successful, safe apps they’ve made in the past. Trustworthy app development companies will make similarly trustworthy apps.

One way to ensure the safety of both of your device options would be to pay for quality security systems. There are plenty of highly ranked security systems for both a laptop and a phone. Investing in security could also wipe out the need to consider whether or not a phone or laptop is more secure.

Regardless of whichever you choose, mobile phone apps and your web browser both have pros and cons. Their security depends upon the situation you’re in: one is more secure on a private wifi address and the other more secure for public use. It’ll ultimately rely upon whether or not you’re at home or in public, or if you even have both devices to choose from. Cyber crime has skyrocketed in recent years, but you can keep yourself safe by using your devices wisely.