Aura is a great solution for individuals or families looking for an all-encompassing solution that covers a password manager, VPN, antivirus, storage, and ID protection. All of this is done fairly easily, thanks to Aura’s user-friendly interface and clear pricing policy.
Direct phone and email support 24/7
Free 14-day trial
Transparent pricing with annual discounts
Identity, credit, and device protection
Awesome parental control app
Bonus features need more work to be outstanding
Family plan costs above the industry average
Some features still feel like they’re in a beta stage of development
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The incidence of losses, including those related to identity theft, saw a rise of 30 percent between 2021 and 2022. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans endured losses amounting to $8.8 billion due to such activities last year. Protecting yourself from becoming a part of these statistics can be quite challenging but not impossible.
Every day, numerous threats to your identity arise across the internet, email, smartphones, and other channels. It only takes a moment of carelessness for identity thieves to seize your information and exploit it, resulting in losses for you or your family. If you're looking for help in keeping your identity safe, consider using an identity theft protection service such as Aura. This service actively monitors your information and its online presence. If any suspicious activities are detected, Aura promptly sends you alerts so that you can take action to protect your identifiable information.
Furthermore, Aura stands out by offering a complete package for identity protection and online security, offering their entire package across all of their plans. This includes its flexibility in terms of coverage, with plans for individuals, couples, and families, thus covering households of all sizes. If you have children in your household, Aura’s family plan can greatly benefit you, as it covers up to five adults and an unlimited number of children. Moreover, price-wise, the plans start off at $12 per month (with annual billing) all the way up to $50 if you opt for the monthly payment option and the highest plan.
Aura’s commitment to identity theft protection, offering $1 million insurance and 24/7 customer support across all plans, puts them into any discussion that deals with safeguarding your personal information, regardless of whether you’re an individual, a couple, or a family. With their range of features and unwavering dedication to protecting customers from identity theft, Aura proves to be a trustworthy partner in the battle against cybercrime. The company updated its software and offering suite fairly recently, thus giving us a chance to review all aspects of it. Throughout the review, we will be covering each aspect Aura offers and, in the end, conclude if it could be the ideal digital security system for you and your family.
Aura: Plans and pricing
Aura offers highly competitive pricing across all three of its plans. It offers family, individual, and couple plans. You’ll save quite a bit more if you agree to an annual contract rather than a month-to-month contract, but all its pricing options are competitive. You can also utilize the 14-day free offer to test out the services and see for yourself if it's worth dishing out for the plans.
When it comes to the features, there isn't much variation between the Individual and Couple plans. Essentially, you can just take what the Individual plan offers and double it. The family plan provides the greatest value. It covers up to five adults, each of whom will have access to all the features offered by the Individual plan. Additionally, the family plan includes child SSN monitoring to safeguard any children in the household. There is no limit to the number of children you can extend this protection to, as long as they reside with you. Moreover, the family plan also includes digital safety features that are not available in either the Individual or Couple plans. These features are specifically designed for families. For instance, there is parental control software that enables parents to monitor and manage their children's internet usage and devices. The Aura app also incorporates cyberbullying and online predator protection, which is very important in today’s day and age.
Now, let's take a closer look at each subscription plan.
|Pricing||$12 ($15 monthly)||$22 ($29 monthly)||$37 ($50 monthly)|
|Online & device security||10 Devices||20 Devices (10 per adult)||50 Devices (10 per adult)|
|Spam call & message protection||-||-||🗹|
|Online account monitoring||🗹||🗹||🗹|
|ID verification monitoring||🗹||🗹||🗹|
|Data broker removal||🗹||🗹||🗹|
|Criminal & Court Monitoring||🗹||🗹||🗹|
|Lost wallet remediation||🗹||🗹||🗹|
|Bank account monitoring||🗹||🗹||🗹|
|Credit score updates (monthly)||🗹||🗹||🗹|
|Credit reports (annual)||🗹||🗹||🗹|
|Children SSN monitoring||-||-||🗹|
|Identity theft insurance||Up to $1M||Up to $2M ($1M per adult)||Up to $5M ($1M per adult)|
Price-wise, Aura’s family plan costs are above the industry average, but again, it offers more than what a typical family identity protection plan provides. Of course, you might not need all those extra features. If you’re looking for a leaner but more affordable option, you should look into Identity Guard family coverage. Identity Guard’s family plan aims to protect as many members of the family as Aura but with fewer features.
When comparing the pricing of Aura with platform suites that offer 10 license subscriptions, it seems that Aura falls on the higher end in terms of cost. On the one hand, Trend Micro, F Secure, and McAfee provide subscriptions at a lower price, ranging from five to twenty dollars less. Kaspersky charges $58.99 for 10 licenses, while Norton 360 With LifeLock, which also includes identity protection, like Aura, is priced at $99.99 for 10 licenses. Finally, Panda Dome Premium charges $75 annually.
Again, comparing Aura to other ID theft protection services, the auto-renewal option requires your opt-in when you sign up for the service, which is similar to all the other online ID protection services. But unlike some ID theft protection services, Aura’s annual subscription price doesn’t change after the first year. In short, you will be giving Aura your payment information during the sign-up stage, and auto-charging will occur either monthly or annually, depending on which payment option you went for. Keep in mind that if you fail to cancel auto-renewal before the renewal date, you will be charged for the following period (month/year). This also applies if you opted for the 14-day trial period, you must cancel your subscription before that time runs out if you’re not planning on continuing with Aura.
Canceling Aura is a straightforward process, which can be done either online or by calling customer support. If you’re doing it online, click on the “Gear” icon and navigate to the “Membership” section. Roughly in the middle of the next page, you will find the button “Cancel Membership.” Here, you will be offered a customer service phone number or the option to continue cancellation online. To finish up the process online, simply follow the prompts given, and your subscription will be canceled easily. Some users report that they are still being charged by Aura even after canceling, while this is hard to confirm, we would advise keeping a record of all the emails that confirm cancellation. Furthermore, track your credit card statements for a while to see if any charges appear. Since customer support is quick to reply, we are confident that any misunderstandings should be resolved fairly quickly with proper communication.
To get started with Aura, simply choose a plan with which you would like to start and click on “Start Free Trial.” You will be asked to enter your email address, and from here on in, you will be asked for your personal information (full name, home address, phone number, date of birth, social security number). Make sure you use the correct data, the one you use for your tax returns, as it will affect the results you get. Next, confirm the pricing plan and proceed to payment, either via the credit card or PayPal options. Check your email for the verification code Aura sends you, and enter it in the corresponding field. Now, run the Aura setup scan that starts with a check of the dark web, after which you need to activate privacy protection. Once activated, you will have to go through the safety checklist, where you will have to turn on credit, financial, and identity protection services. Once you finish the setup Aura will notify you what’s being monitored, and you can proceed with exploring the platform.
Credit monitoring represents one of the most important features when it comes to identity protection, as malicious actors could use your Social Security number and credit profile for nefarious purposes. Oftentimes, this can happen without you realizing it until it's too late. Aura Credit Monitoring provides a single package that includes primary identity protection and secondary credit monitoring, allowing users to conveniently lock their credit directly from the Aura dashboard without having to visit or call Experian. You can check your credit report by clicking “Me” at the top of the homepage and going to the “Credit” section, here, you will find the “Report” icon, which will lead you to your report. The solution monitors all three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax), which guarantees the most accurate and fastest alerts if someone opens a new credit card or bank account in your name or uses your credit card for a loan.
Aura simplifies the process of locking and unlocking your credit. It offers a credit lock feature with Experian along with a credit score tracker that helps you improve your credit score. Under the same “Credit” section, the option “Credit Lock and Freeze” allows you to freeze your credit at all three credit bureaus, but if you wish to apply for a credit, you will have to “unfreeze” your credit from this section. Additionally, Aura provides an updated graph showing your credit score, explaining why it is the way it is. It even offers suggestions to enhance it by reducing balances and resolving any identified issues. The central control panel allows you to keep an eye on your credit score, monitor information on the web, and access tools that protect against identity theft, including links to credit bureaus and tools for safeguarding children's credit. Aura Credit Monitoring also assists in preventing child identity theft by guiding users through the process of freezing their child's credit until they become adults, thus avoiding any damage to their credit scores.
Aura sets itself apart from companies that offer credit reports by providing them for free on an annual basis. What is even better is that Aura doesn't give you the option to purchase a credit report from any of the three credit reporting agencies. But Aura doesn't stop at monitoring your credit; it also allows you to keep a watch on your investment and bank accounts. You can easily set transaction limits for monitoring, ensuring that you won't be bombarded with alerts.
By using Aura’s monitoring feature, you can actively protect your accounts, like checking, savings, retirement, and credit cards, from instances of fraud. Aura allows you to set parameters for monitoring your accounts so you can quickly address any unauthorized activity. To get started, simply enter the information for the accounts you want to track. Click on "Me," then select "Transactions." From there, click on "Add More" to enter details of any accounts you have. Aura partners with Plaid to verify your accounts. To complete the verification process, log into your account through Plaid. Once your financial account is successfully verified in Aura, you can closely monitor your transactions and detect any signs of issues. Aura employs Transaction Monitoring methods to keep an eye out for activities such as large purchases, cash withdrawals, and balance transfers. It's important to note that Aura doesn't block these transactions but instead sends you a notification whenever they occur. You have the option to set a threshold amount that triggers a transaction alert from Aura. Moreover, Aura provides notifications in case any of your details, such as your Social Security number, are jeopardized or in danger.
In case of identity theft, you are covered up to $1 million in insurance to help you deal with the costs. Note that this amount has now become an industry standard, so it’s good that Aura is following through on the amount. Such insurance helps users cover costs related to lost wages while they try to get their identity back, qualified stolen funds across various accounts, and costs for an accountant or a private investigator. Of course, this does not mean that Aura will give you $1 million so you can deal with all of the issues, rather, you will be able to reimburse all the costs after providing proof of your costs or losses, and the reimbursement will be equal to the losses/costs. For additional information, Aura offers a 24/7 customer service team that can assist in situations when you believe you are a victim of identity theft or you simply have additional questions. Once identity theft occurs, Aura deploys its White Glove Fraud Resolution team based in the US. This team works with the customer to create a plan on how to restore identity and fix the issues. To file a claim against the Aura $1 million insurance policy, click on the “Gear” icon visit the “Benefits” section, and the box “$1M Identity Theft Insurance.”
Going further, with the Family plan, you can even protect your children's Social Security numbers through basic monitoring. One impressive feature of Aura is its ability to monitor the dark web. It not only searches for your information online, it can also automatically change your password using Auras password manager if it detects any security breaches – all with just one click. Additionally, it offers a program designed to combat tax refund fraud. In addition to credit and identity monitoring, Aura keeps an eye on data brokers, junk mail providers, and spam providers. If necessary, it can even request the removal of your data from these sources. To further enhance your security, Aura provides a Safe Browsing extension that allows you to surf the web without leaving any traces.
Everything that Aura identifies will be served to users through alerts, however, what Aura can search will match what the user entered into the ID theft protection software, which forces users to be thorough and detailed if they want to get the best results. Alerts are divided into categories, giving a quick and easy overview of the activities while also providing tips on how to stay protected. There is also an option to set up urgent notification delivery through email, SMS, or other communication options. This is all done via the gear icon in the upper right corner, under the “Alert Preferences” section. Some of the alerts that Aura creates are related to the requests it creates for Data Brokers in your name since these entities gather your personal data and sell it for a profit; thus, the barrage of spam messages users receive after they’ve left their email addresses across various sites. Note the removal of your personal data from the Data Brokers will depend on the jurisdiction they’re operating in and data laws that possibly compel them to remove your data. Since these entities are usually harder to locate on your own, it is great that Aura offers this option, simplifying the entire procedure. To see the progress on data removal requests, simply go to the “Vault” and click on the “Data Broker Removal” section. Finally, Aura will regularly reach out to Data Brokers to remind them that your data must be removed if, for example, they start collecting data on you again, which is possible since this is done via site scrapers or scripts that automate the data collection processes.
Aura constantly monitors the titles of your home and personal belongings, including vehicles, to detect any changes that could indicate nefarious activity. By conducting a search of records, Aura automatically retrieves information about all the properties you've owned in the last 20 years. It keeps track of property details such as the names on the property deed, any associated lienholders, the official address, tax assessments, and assessed value. While you can access information about loans you had on a property, loans taken out after selling it, won't be visible. In case someone steals your identity and fraudulently opens home loans using your property's value, Aura's public records tracking will help you identify such activities. It is recommended to review this information for any irregularities that may suggest attempted identity theft. To access these documents, simply click on the "Vault" tab at the top of the page. Then select "Home and Property" from the menu. Additionally, if you own numerous types of property, like motor vehicles, they might also be listed on the Home and Property page. You can access a record of all the cars registered in your name for the past two decades. This record includes their Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs).
Moreover, Aura additionally monitors the sex offender registry and alerts you if there are changes in the registry relating to your home address. In essence, this means that you will be notified if a known sex offender moves near your address of residence. This is a fairly new feature by Aura, but a useful one nonetheless.
If you need a secure solution for your documents, Aura provides an option for storing a variety of files, ones that you won’t need to access constantly. You can add such documents by simply scanning or photographing them and uploading them to Aura. Uploaded files will be encrypted, ensuring their privacy and inaccessibility to third parties. If you have loads of documents, worry not; there is a search option, which is pretty precise if you follow a normal naming convention for your documents. In our experience, the documents that should be uploaded include but are not limited to a living will, last will, testament, power of attorney, court documents, and proof of purchase. The Vault application includes a Personal Data section where you can securely store documents and account information related to your identity and health. This section allows you to save items such as birth certificates, driver's licenses, email addresses, phone numbers, gamertags, passports, Social Security numbers, and health insurance cards. Additionally, Aura offers a feature that monitors the internet for any compromises or misuse of this type of information. To access your stored items or add new ones, simply click on the "Vault" tab located at the top of the home window. Then select "Personal Data." Within this section, you have the ability to modify data associated with each item by selecting it from the list. If you wish to add items, just click on the plus sign icon. Follow the simple wizard to upload your desired documents. To facilitate navigation within your stored data, there is a search bar at the top of the page that enables information retrieval.
Another neat feature that Aura offers is lost wallet protection, where you can use your stored information to quickly cancel credit cards and regain access to important documents you hold in your wallet. If you happen to lose your wallet, click on the “Gear” icon, navigate to the “Benefits” section, and click the “Lost Wallet Remediation” box. You will be offered Aura’s customer service phone number through which you will get help in dealing with the situation. There will also be a list of steps that you can follow along if you so wish. Keep in mind that filing a police report is crucial for recovering a lost or stolen wallet, as it helps with identity theft claims.
An impressive additional feature that Aura offers is called the Call Assistant as part of their app, which you can download on your smartphone. The Call Assistant uses AI to determine if incoming phone calls and text messages are genuine or not. It's quite effective in filtering out spam calls and text messages, those that try to trick you using AI techniques like vishing attacks. The Call Assistant from Aura also checks calls that come from unfamiliar numbers, it lets you listen to a transcribed voice message before you decide whether or not to answer. This way, important calls about appointments or other matters won't be missed. The AI Call Assistant has been created to identify and filter out calls that are often connected with deceptive intentions. Its primary purpose is to serve as a gatekeeper, allowing users to focus on calls while blocking any disturbances. Whether it's an update regarding a delivery or a reminder about an appointment, the Call Assistant ensures that users never miss out on information by preventing spam and scam calls from getting through. Alongside the Call Assistant, Aura provides additional call protection features to ensure user safety from calls and expensive phone scams. Aura utilizes layers of screening to achieve this. In terms of text messaging, Auras SMS protection feature effectively filters out texts. Directs them toward a specifically designated junk folder. Moreover, if a text message contains a link, Aura verifies whether the link leads to a website infected with malware or involved in phishing activities. To access the app, Aura provides a QR code through their web browser interface. Just click on “Me” and then on "Call Protection" to see the QR code and scan it with your smartphone. If you use the individual or couple pricing tiers, you may have to reach out to customer service to get this activated.
In the end, let's discuss Aura's parental control app, an app that is regarded as one of the best in class when it comes to securing children's safety and well-being. Everything around the app has been built and is geared towards a quick setup and simplicity in use. To download the app, a simple scan of a QR code is needed on each device, and you can get started. Keep in mind that you will have to state your child’s age, as the app is legally allowed to work only with children below 18 years of age. With the app, parents can easily monitor and manage device usage in their household. This is done through the screen time analytics feature, through which parents can keep track of and limit the amount of screen time for family members. In essence, this can reduce phone usage and distractions. An additional impressive feature offered by the parental control app is the alerts it sends to parents about instances of cyberbullying or dangerous encounters in gaming. When it comes to the technology behind the safe gaming features, it comes from Kidas, a startup with which Aura established a strategic partnership. The technology behind the parental control app overall is Circle, an award-winning technology whose goal is to prevent children from seeing objectionable content and provide insights for parents. Note that this is a pretty unique feature, not offered by many ID protection solutions on the market. There is also the identity theft protection option and a vault for storing and sharing confidential documents, which ensures comprehensive security for families. Through the child or teen filter, you can tailor restrictions or block over 100 apps from children’s phones/tablets. You can also restrict certain games and/or websites.
The neat thing is that you can tailor the stuff you want your kids to be able to access, so, for example, you can block off news sites, inappropriate influencers on YouTube, etc. While most of these things come pre-defined out of the box, once you enter your child’s age, the ability to tailor restrictions makes a lot of sense. If your child tries accessing these apps or websites, you will see the attempts appear under the “Blocked Activity” feed on your phone. Moreover, you have the ability to allow the kids to enjoy certain content for a limited time period, which, once it expires, will automatically block the content. Keep in mind, though, that most of the streaming apps do not allow control at the app level, meaning that a movie, for example, will be downloaded fully in some streaming apps, allowing children to watch it all the way through. Yet, any subsequent activity will be blocked on the network level since this is where the parental control app functions. While some critics have mentioned the lack of live tracking capabilities with Aura's parental control app, it is worth mentioning that they're integrating this feature into their service. However, the option to pause the internet can compensate in part for the lack of live tracking until the feature is fully implemented. Finally, with the family plan covering an unlimited number of children, this app will be invaluable for families with large households, adding value to the entire package.
Just this month, a new feature to the parental control app called dynamic dashboard has been released by Aura. It moves the most important information to the front and center of the app. Now you can see all of the blocked apps and sites in chronological order from the main screen. What's more, with this new release, parents have the ability to preview the functions of the app prior to installing it across the devices they want to be protected. Finally, with the latest update, a few tweaks have been made to the content filtering options, which were already useful, making them now a one-stop shop for quick content tailoring.
After you have secured your identity, documents, and funds and are tracking all the necessary information through Aura, it is time to secure your Aura account. You are offered an option to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) on your account, which is a highly effective way to protect your “source of truth.” Your account may be vulnerable if you save your passwords in your browser and the username and password are pre populated when someone else browses the internet from your computer. Moreover, if your password gets breached, you will be left stranded without 2FA. You will be asked to set up your 2FA once you start signing up for Aura’s services, if you decide to do it at a later time, follow these steps. Click the “Gear” icon and navigate to “Account Details,” from here, scroll to the bottom and click “Enable” next to the 2FA option. Follow the simple prompts, and you will be all set.
Interface and in use
Overall, Aura features a modern design that is fairly easy to navigate, but it’s not perfect. The alerts, which represent “the meat” of the service, are tucked behind a menu and a few clicks away, we feel that it would be more useful if alerts were displayed more prominently on the main screen so you can have a quick overview of any changes that require your immediate attention. For example, the “Passwords” widget could be removed, as this doesn’t have to be prominently featured on the main screen, and instead, alerts could take its place. Similarly, the home screen doesn’t show dark-web monitoring, another feature that should be prominently displayed as most of the value comes from this feature as well. Again, this is more of a personal preference, but the lack of customization could be attributed as a negative for Aura. For example, if Aura allowed users to customize which widgets are prominently displayed on the home screen, the app's usability and interface would reach perfection. That being said, the interface is better than most products that are in the market today, according to our preferences.
To be fair, Aura updated its design fairly recently, and compared to the old version, the new one works much better and is not bogged down by clunky design mechanics, where you had to dig through numerous menus to reach what you were looking for. This updated design allows you to see a list of alerts, which you access through a separate menu, and in the admin web interface, you get a summary of various features as well as tips on which things you should activate or change to improve your protection. With time, you will learn where things are, and the entire navigation process with menus and submenus will be a breeze to use, especially if you’ve been using the older version of Aura previously. The entire focus of the main page seems to be geared towards its ID theft protection services, which is the main reason people subscribe to Aura, with everything else being pushed into the background as bonus features (VPN, Dark web, etc.). Whether this approach is good will depend on your personal preferences, as we’re more tech-oriented, we would have liked to see a modular home screen with widget addition and removal features, but you might have completely different priorities, and that is OK. If you need help with the usage of any part of Aura’s service, there is a neat “Get Help” link at the upper right corner from which you can learn more about how to use a certain feature.
In terms of performance, we used Aura through a Chrome browser, and we haven’t noticed any lags, issues, or abrupt session interruptions. We fired up the page also through Edge for a few sessions and had a similar experience, though both browsers are based on a similar architecture, we would argue that it works similarly on other browsers (Firefox, Opera, etc.). If you stay inactive for a couple of minutes, Aura will log you out of the account as part of a security feature, which is a neat option if you’re like us and are running dozens of open tabs and tend to forget to log out from certain instances.
The desktop application that covers Aura’s Antivirus, VPN, and Safe Gaming features will be covered in the following sections, but in terms of design, it is very simple and based on modern application architecture philosophy. In short, this means you get a rail menu on the left side with prominent icons that lead you through the functionalities of the app. The rest of the screen displays the main function, i.e., turn on or off the Antivirus or scan your device. This goes for both the Windows and Mac versions of the app, though the Mac version is missing some features, but more on that later.
For online security, Aura offers a range of extra services, one of which could be likened to antivirus software, VPN, and password management. The antivirus is capable enough with a solid malware detection rate, with industry experts claiming that Avira’s software is licensed to Aura, which is what is scanning your files. However, it seems that Aura has actually focused on an internal solution according to the information that we received, while previously, they did license a third-party solution, but we failed to confirm which one. The Malware scanner performs similarly to competitors, with on-demand scans and real-time malware detection. Users can opt to perform Quick, Full, or Custom scans, but no logs will be provided, and there is no option to schedule a scan. One neat feature of Aura’s solution is the Smart Network feature. The company claims that it uses AI to detect and block new threats as they emerge, augmenting the basic blocking by leveraging known risky site lists. However, there is a machine learning element behind the list. Namely, the model runs heuristics on the browsing habits while looking for signs of phishing or malware on the site. Afterward, this analysis is graded, and the list is updated if a new site is detected. This also means that it possibly pulls the list and updates it based on what is publicly available and updated by other antivirus providers. Finally, Aura claims that the protection sits at the network level for greater coverage and accuracy to help protect users from risky domains before the rest of the world knows they are a risk.
You will not be able to find any scores from Independent Antivirus Labs on Aura’s antivirus software, which is often not a great sign; however, Aura showed mediocre results in terms of quarantining a prepared batch of viruses, falling behind established players on the market. We received information that by the end of 2023, Aura will have performed a test by an independent antivirus lab and more public results will be available for the scoring of their proprietary AV engine.
Regarding the UI the software offers, Aura remains mediocre at best. The plain white screen with a rail menu to the left will be everything on offer. You can access settings, return home, or start one of the scans from the side menu. Once a scan begins, a scan progress window will be displayed, with a percentage of completion, which can sometimes be misleading. The initial few scans locked a percentage point for a few seconds and stayed there until the entire scan had been completed; at other times, it worked perfectly, so we’re not sure if it was a bug or a permanent feature of the scan progress window.
If you’re running a Mac, the UI part will be an even worse experience, as some of the icons and settings seem to be missing. For example, you will be able to only perform a Quick or a Custom scan, and there is no “Auto-scan” option, which is basically a real-time protection option. Furthermore, you will often find yourself re-launching the app or being completely thrown out of the app due to crashes. Again, this might be linked to our Mac instance, and you may have a completely different experience, but overall, Aura’s antivirus on a Mac doesn’t seem to be something worth writing home about.
For mobile phones, Aura offers a single app that incorporates the manager for Aura’s identity and privacy aspects, as well as the antivirus. Once installed, the main screen shows a magnifying glass icon, which you need to tap in order to run a scan. The bottom part of the screen shows apps that have been marked as secure that you currently have installed on your phone. In the upper right corner is the “Gear” icon, behind which is a simple settings page. Here, you can turn on the Safe Browsing feature, which blocks malicious content in Google Chrome, and you will also find the list of ignored threats under this menu. Most Android security products typically include both antivirus and anti-theft features, but Aura stands out by omitting the anti-theft component. In addition to antivirus protection, these products often offer features such as app privacy analysis, device configuration checks for security, and notifications if the SIM card is changed. However, Aura's Android antivirus is a simple solution that lacks all of these capabilities. For iOS, there is no dedicated antivirus features, but this is usually the case with cross-platform security suites due to iOS’s built-in security measures. The Aura app is available for iOS but covers VPN, password manager, and other components offered by Aura.
In terms of phishing protection, Aura does offer Safe Browsing via a web extension, which helps people browse the web safely by automatically blocking malware or phishing sites that want to steal personal and financial info. Additionally, if someone tries to visit a risky website, Aura will block the site and provide a reason on why it was flagged as potentially malicious. In essence, this means that Aura’s solution relies on blacklisting, like with most antivirus solutions.
While VPN is not explicitly mentioned in Aura, i.e., there is no VPN button to press, it is still present in the suite. On the Online Security panel, the third icon leads you to VPN settings, with industry experts claiming that Aura licensed Hotspot Shield VPN for their VPN needs, again, there is no confirmation or denial by either party on this.
The only option available is to turn on or off the Online Security feature. Unfortunately, there isn't an option to manually select a server; instead, a random server (the fastest, closest to you) based in the US will be assigned to you. It's worth mentioning that the split tunneling feature, which allows certain traffic to bypass the encrypted VPN connection, is not available. In terms of speed, we experienced a slowdown of 2-5% depending on the time of day we used the service, which is in line with what we experienced with other dedicated VPN services.
On the Online Security page, you can find information about the location of the server being used and the level of security for your internet connection. While you have the option to configure Aura to automatically activate Online Security when connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks, this setting may not be very useful. It is generally recommended to keep Online Security enabled at all times for protection against websites and online fraud. However, it's important to note that certain activities like accessing websites, streaming content, or playing games may not be compatible with a VPN connection and could result in losing this protection.
Many people prefer not having to deal with selecting servers based on latency. This was probably Aura’s intention when building out the VPN, i.e., to keep it as simple as possible since most people are not very tech-savvy in terms of advanced features a VPN can offer. By enabling Online Security, your internet traffic will be protected from surveillance; moreover, your IP address will remain hidden, adding a layer of anonymity. But if you're an advanced user who is looking for a complete VPN solution, what Aura offers will be nowhere near enough. Similarly, if you plan on using the VPN to stream or circumvent geo-locks, Aura will not be the solution that you’re looking for, rather, check out something like NordVPN. Moreover, if you’re planning on using Aura’s VPN for P2P sharing, it’s better not to risk being blocked by your ISP since there is no kill switch function with Aura’s solution.
For mobile phones, the Online Security VPN feature is managed within the main Aura app and functions similarly to other platforms by blocking access to dangerous and fraudulent websites. However, it should be noted that this feature operates differently on iOS. Upon observation, it does not filter out malicious sites that use a secure HTTPS connection, which is a common method employed by phishing sites.
Aura’s password manager will be served to you through the My Aura online console, and if you decide to postpone the installation, you will be regularly reminded to install it. The password manager is available as a browser extension for all popular browsers, as well as an iOS and Android application. Keep in mind that the password you created when initially signing up for Aura (your master password) will actually be the master password for the password manager. While you may have heard it over and over again, to keep your password long and strong, here it makes much more sense to do it. If you’re running the app on a mobile phone, simply enabling fingerprint logon will be a boon, as the app tends to timeout your sessions fairly quickly, and you will have to re-enter your password every time. Once you activate the password manager, you will be asked to create your first saved password, which is a fairly simple process. We advise that you use the browser extension to capture the remainder of your passwords since it is much quicker than actually manually entering every password you have. At times, the extension may not recognize that you entered new credentials, which it should store, but such instances were rare and might have been triggered by dozens of tabs opened on the browser during the test period.
Just as with the antivirus and the VPN, simplicity reigns supreme with the password manager, which is not necessarily a good thing. You will not be able to organize your saved passwords with the help of tags or custom folders like you can in other password managers on the market. On the flip side, keeping auto-save turned on makes more sense since the only activity you require is for the credentials to be stored. With the recent updates made to the password manager and its inclusion in the Vault functionality, the auto-filling options are now available. Previously, the auto-filling of your credentials was not automated; instead, it required more “elbow grease” on your end. How it functioned in the past is that you had to copy and paste your credentials from the password vault. Now, all of this is automated, in line with modern best practices in the password management realm. A neat function is that you are able to change your passwords (at scale) with a single click of a button if Vault finds your password floating around in the dark web.
The benefit of this one-click solution is immense. Users would have to go to the dark web, see which credentials have been breached, and manually change all of them, repeating this process for each new account and user name/password combination. Now, with Aura’s solution, you get notified of the breach, and in a single click, all of your credentials are silently changed in the background, with the Vault updating your new credentials for auto-filling features across your websites.
Aura is well known for its exceptional customer service, and with the revamp of their presentation, they’ve managed to improve their customer support as well. Almost every screen now has the option to reach out to customer support, and with their 24/7 phone support, email, and live chat options, you can rest assured that all of your questions will be answered as quickly as possible. Live chat is a fairly new option, and if you’re querying it outside of US working hours, you will be talking to a chatbot that covers the basics amazingly well. Some users criticized the fact that you can chat with a person only during US business hours, but most providers don’t even offer a live chat option, which makes Aura’s customer support stand out for innovative approaches. The 24/7 phone support, on the other hand, works perfectly. You will not be left to wait in long queues, nor will you be transferred to numerous other departments to get your issue fixed. The call agents, in our experience, were very knowledgeable, approachable, and overall helpful, making this our go-to support option when it comes to handling issues tied to Aura.
Of course, there are “self-help” options in the form of documents and articles, which you can reach by clicking on the “Get Help” link at the top right part of almost all screens. We were positively surprised by the amount of articles and documents under the help section, covering almost all eventualities and functions. On the “Digital Security 101” page, you can find Aura’s blog where they cover topics that can be helpful for users to stay protected on and offline. Moreover, the number of emails you receive from Aura has been significantly reduced, which we see as a positive. In the past, the emails that you would get were mostly marketing and salesy emails, with a small percentage of them being actually useful. Now, the emails you get from Aura are relevant and worth your time. Keep in mind, though, that when you cancel your service with Aura, that’s when their marketing team goes on the offensive, and you can expect an increase in marketing emails to get you to sign back up. Again, this is nothing we haven’t seen with other services across numerous niches, and it could be attributed to good customer support as they want to learn why you’re leaving the service and if there is something they could improve upon.
LifeLock and IDShield are two competitors that are trying to give Aura a run for its money. Let’s explore the similarities and differences between these two offerings and Aura to help you decide how it stacks up to the competition.
LifeLock has a similar offering to Aura, providing comprehensive monitoring services that span the dark web, social media monitoring, investments, ID, and three credit bureau monitoring, among other things. Yet, LifeLock falters when it comes to accuracy. Comparing the two services side by side, Aura managed to detect alerts across the dark web monitoring that LifeLock failed to pick up on. Moreover, Aura picked up on some compromised passwords while LifeLock again faltered. Talking about shortcomings, LifeLock takes roughly 24 hours to populate alerts (at least in our test), while Aura did it the same day, which could make all the difference if you need real-time alerts. In the department of online security, the offering is similar yet again, this time, LifeLock comes away as the winner due to Norton’s antivirus and VPN, which are noticeably better than what Aura has on offer. However, the parental tool that can help parents block websites and limit children’s screen time is much more powerful in Aura’s offering. Finally, while LifeLock and Aura have similar offers, LifeLock lacks the speed and accuracy offered by Aura, but then again, Aura lacks complex online protection tools offered by the Norton suite that comes with LifeLock.
IDShield stands out from identity theft protection services by offering unique advantages. The identity restoration service is one such unique feature since it is provided by licensed private investigators. Furthermore, this is covered by an identity restoration guarantee, meaning that if you fall victim to identity theft, IDShield will work to restore it for you or provide a refund. Moreover, the reputation management tool is another standout feature, especially if you’re busy on social media sites. It provides automated tools that scan your social media for potentially offensive content. If you want to remove some embarrassing photos from high school or the fact that you joined a Facebook group that turned radical, IDShield can delete all of these in one go. Despite these unique features, our time with IDShield could have been improved. It all comes down to the confusing signup process that pushes you into creating a LegalShield account, after which you go on to create your IDShield main login details. Furthermore, IDShield struggled to populate the alerts list, and the ones that came in were not related to the personal information that was entered, making the entire experience confusing.
In short, Aura has earned a place among the top identity theft protection services on the market. All of the essential features that you expect from such a service can be found here. This includes the $1 million insurance coverage that can assist you in handling all of the expenses accrued during the process of identity restoration. Through its basic and advanced features, Aura simplifies the process of safeguarding your identity.
Aura simplifies the process of securing and unlocking your credit by offering a credit lock feature in partnership with Experian. It also includes a credit score tracker that helps you improve your credit score over time. The platform presents an updated graph displaying your credit score and provides suggestions to boost it. Its central control panel enables you to monitor your credit score, access tools for safeguarding against identity theft, and protect your children's credit as well. Moreover, Aura allows you to keep an eye on your investment and bank accounts, set transaction limits for monitoring purposes, and actively safeguard your accounts from fraud attempts. It also keeps an eye on the web for any potential security breaches, automatically changes passwords for added security measures, and combats tax refund fraud effectively.
Additionally, Aura proactively monitors data brokers, junk mail providers, and spam providers while offering assistance in requesting the removal of data from these sources upon request. Alerts are categorized comprehensively to give you an overview of activities along with tips on staying protected. In case of matters, notifications can be delivered conveniently through email or SMS among the communication options available to you. Furthermore, Aura provides a Safe Browsing extension that ensures web browsing for enhanced safety. In general, Aura Credit Monitoring offers a complete package for safeguarding your identity.
A lot of attention has been placed on the pricing tiers, which now represent one of the best in the field of ID theft services. Unlike other notable ID theft services, Aura does not increase the price after the first year or subsequent years. The individual tier is the cheapest, with couples and family tiers jumping in price significantly. However, you can track much more data across the upper two tiers, and there is the option of covering an unlimited number of children, making it an incredible value for money if you have a large family. All in all, the comprehensive features, coupled with well-thought-out pricing tiers, create a complete offer for those looking for identity theft protection services. With the most recent update Aura made to the design of the entire suite, accessing the necessary information is just a few clicks away. The focus is specifically on everything related to identity theft, while bonus features require a few more clicks, but it never feels burdensome or confusing. If you’re using your web browser to log in to Aura’s services, you will be welcomed by a professional and modern presentation that offers an intuitive approach to navigating the content. Help can now be reached through almost all screens that you visit, and little is left to guesswork if you’re still confused, there is a 24/7 support number where you can get additional answers.
Desktop and mobile applications are usable in the best sense of the word, while the version for Mac needs more work and polish to properly do justice to what Aura has to offer. The bonus online security features are just that, a bonus, and should be treated as such. You will not get a fancy antivirus from a renowned company, nor will the VPN enable you to circumvent geo-locked content and use P2P sharing apps. It covers the basics and does so adequately, which was obviously the point, seeing the immense effort that went into the entire offer. The parental control app best illustrates this with its numerous features and modern design, making it one of the best in class. And before we forget, the password manager has been recently revamped, now being actually more useful than in the past, where a free password manager could do a better job.
In the end, Aura is not the cheapest identity theft solution out there, but with its complete offer, it stacks well with the competing products in the market. With varying pricing plans and all-encompassing protection, we believe you can’t go wrong with Aura. Again, the final decision should be based on your needs and the budget you have.
Do I really need identity theft protection?
First and foremost, you have to take stock of your circumstances before deciding to go for an identity theft service like the one offered by Aura. Given that everyone's situation and online information usage differs, it becomes challenging to make a one size fits all statement about whether everyone should opt for identity theft protection services. Most individuals can adopt practices similar to those employed by ID theft protection services in order to monitor their information. If you diligently keep track of your credit reports, credit scores, and financial statements, you stand a chance of detecting any signs of identity fraud.
Moreover, you have the option to freeze your credit during periods when you don't need to apply for accounts. By doing this, you can prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name, even if they have all of your information. Many ID theft protection services, like Aura, provide mechanisms for freezing your credit. It all comes down to how careful you are in sharing your information online, being cautious can minimize the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.
It's essential to understand that there is a misconception surrounding how identity theft protection services operate. Simply enrolling in these services does not guarantee immunity from identity theft. Instead, these services diligently monitor your information and promptly notify you if any unusual activities related to your online presence are detected. It is then your responsibility to take action, such as changing passwords or closing compromised accounts, to resolve the issue. In instances where you do fall victim to identity theft, services like Aura will assign a specialist who can assist you in regaining control of your identity. However, there may still be situations where you might require support on a regular basis, such as consulting with a lawyer, hiring a private investigator, or seeking advice from other experts. While these services offer guidance and assistance, they do not provide an encompassing solution that completely eliminates the risk of identity theft. Therefore, it remains crucial for you to actively take measures to safeguard yourself.
On average, Identity theft protection companies offer three services. The first one involves monitoring your credit and promptly notifying you if any suspicious activity is detected. This includes things like the opening of accounts or credit inquiries made in your name. This way, you can quickly take action and protect yourself. The second service focuses on alerts. These companies will inform you whenever someone tries to use your information without your permission, such as attempting to open a bank account using your identity. This service can be incredibly helpful because many victims of identity theft are unaware until significant damage has already been done to their credit or finances. The third service provided by these companies is recovery assistance. In the event that your information is compromised and misused, they will help you recover any lost funds and repair the damage caused to your credit history. Additionally, many of these companies offer insurance policies that cover losses of up to $1 million. Furthermore, they may provide services like keeping you informed about identity theft news and updates on sex offender registries. Some even monitor dark web platforms where stolen personal and financial data is traded, along with additional bonuses in the form of online protection suits. Something individuals cannot effectively do on their own.
Finally, there are a lot of situations in which having an identity theft protection service makes a lot of sense and where it can protect you from significant damage. On top of that, understanding what these services actually cover will allow you to make the best choice when it comes to actually having ID protection services.
Will Aura sell your data?
Users of identity theft protection services can be rightfully worried that their data might get sold off to a third party. After all, as a user, you have to give all of your personal information to such a service to be truly protected by the features offered. Aura utilizes user information for a range of purposes. Initially, they use it to ensure their services are provided smoothly, troubleshoot any issues that may arise, and offer support when needed. This involves analyzing data related to usage and service duration to guarantee users receive the services. Additionally, they employ user information to identify security risks by monitoring threats and device data. In terms of billing and payment administration, Aura relies on user information for processing in this area. They also maintain communication with users through email and SMS through push notifications in order to provide updates and respond promptly to any queries or requests. Occasionally, they may share details about their services as well.
Furthermore, Aura uses the user information to operate its services while continuously enhancing them. This includes notifying users about changes in terms or privacy policies as part of their commitment to transparency. They also conduct research aimed at improving their ability to detect issues while analyzing usage patterns and user engagement. Moreover, Aura employs the collected data for measurement, research, and analytics purposes. Through this analysis, they strive to develop services that align with the preferences expressed by users. It is important to note that personal information is not utilized for third-party advertising. In situations where individual identification is not possible or necessary for the purpose at hand, Aura makes use of anonymized data instead. Such data serves objectives across various areas, including security measures aimed at preventing fraud or abuse.
Lastly, Aura ensures compliance with laws by utilizing user data as required by obligations such as legal processes or regulations. They also make sure to exercise their rights and settle any conflicts by utilizing this data. In general, Aura's user information utilization focuses on delivering high-quality services while safeguarding users' privacy and adhering to obligations. The data gathered and processed by Aura or companies that comprise Aura is not sold to any parties, as revenue is driven through subscriptions.
Is Aura generally safe to use?
Aura is generally regarded as a safe option. However, if you have concerns about your privacy, it's important to take some factors into account. While Aura offers identity theft protection, they do require some information from you in order to provide this safeguard. This means that you should be prepared to share details such as your account information, proof of identity, billing information, and similar details.
In addition to their identity theft protection service, Aura also offers a VPN service. In order for the VPN to function effectively and suggest the optimal server location for you, the provider needs to have an understanding of your location. However, there's more. Aura also collects information regarding the type of device you use, the browsers you prefer using, your usage patterns, and other relevant data points. It's important to note that Aura is based in the United States, which is part of the 5 Eyes alliance. Consequently, in situations like criminal investigations or terrorism cases where court approval is obtained, government agencies might get their hands on your data. However, it's worth noting that Aura employs AES 256 encryption for their VPN services, which currently stands as one of the best cryptographic algorithms available today; this guarantees that your data remains unreadable and secure. Furthermore, the company has a policy of not collecting any records of your activities. Considering all aspects, Aura remains a secure provider with no flaws in its track record.
Is Aura worth the money?
It will depend on your personal needs first and foremost. Aura offers an array of products and services that aim to protect your information online on all your devices and offline. The primary services provided by Aura include monitoring your identity, detecting fraud, and ensuring the security of your devices for you and your loved ones. Additionally, Aura keeps an eye on the ownership of your homes as well as your bank accounts and credit card accounts. In the event of any access to your information on the internet or dark web, Aura is prepared to provide personalized fraud resolution services.
What sets Aura apart from its competitors are its plans that come with extra features. For example, each member of a plan can enjoy the advantages of a VPN and password manager on up to 10 computers or mobile devices. For families who choose the Family plan, adding children grants access to controls and SSN monitoring for an unlimited number of children. It provides a remarkably competitive price for its individual tier, surpassing most other ID theft protection services in terms of affordability. Its pricing for the family and couple tiers is also reasonable. Unlike some other providers, Aura does not offer an extremely low-priced tier with limited features. This is actually advantageous because such low-cost tiers often lack usefulness. In contrast, Aura's pricing tiers offer a feature set that provides solid value for customers.
Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.