Cybercrime has been on the rise for years. But since the start of the pandemic, it has exploded.
in comparison to pre-Corona levels.
Online identity theft is rampant, with hackers exploiting both huge corporate data breaches and weak individual passwords. A single mistake in password security can cause a cascade of economic consequences – as recently illustrated by the Colonial Pipeline breach.
And private individuals are just as much a target as large companies. On average, there is now a new ransomware victim every 10 seconds, who finds their data encrypted by hackers demanding payment.
In the face of all these trends, the main question is what you can do to protect yourself and your data.
To start with, there are several strategies to reduce the likelihood of getting hacked. These range from social media settings to keeping up with phishing scams.
One major element of defending yourself against cybercrime is to invest in a comprehensive digital security platform. These offer a range of tools and services like malware protection, VPN, firewall, and identity theft monitoring to make life harder for hackers.
Since the current market for digital security is broad and diverse, we have rounded up the best digital security platforms for you in this article. Note: Pricing information doesn’t include introductory offers.
Aura occupies the top spot in this ranking for a simple reason – it is all-encompassing.
For one thing, the platform offers solid antivirus and VPN services. But the platform’s true strength lies in intensive monitoring to prevent possible breaches, and hands-on support in case they do happen.
Aura will monitor online accounts of all kinds, as well as whether your personal information is leaked anywhere. The company deploys AI algorithms to crawl the dark web, checking whether your passport or social security number have been compromised.
In addition, Aura’s algorithms keep track of your financial accounts, as well as your credit scores with three big bureaus. It also pays particular attention to high-risk situations: It will flag any attempt to transfer home titles, change postal addresses, or to take out a loan in your name, or when your identity appears in court cases. These are normally prime angles of attack for identity thieves.
Finally, if worse comes to worst and your identity is stolen, Aura’s $1 million identity theft and fraud insurance comes into play. This helps you cover legal expenses and face other aftershocks.
Aura’s plans start at $10 a month for one person. Family plans, which let you monitor up to 10 people’s personal information, start at $17 a month.
2 – Kaspersky Cloud Security
Next up, Kaspersky provides a comprehensive cross-platform digital security package. Like Aura, it includes real-time antivirus and VPN protection.
In addition, some of Kaspersky’s packages also come with anti-phishing features, which detect fake websites and suspicious emails. Furthermore, a password manager, webcam protection, as well as ad- and content-blockers are also sometimes included.
Kaspersky also offers you the option of storing an encrypted backup of your important files, and periodically checks whether your online accounts have been involved in a known breach.
Kaspersky runs on all major platforms. Plans start at $53.99 per year for one user. The family cloud offer covers 10 users, starts at $89.99, and includes parental controls for children’s devices.
3 – Norton 360 with LifeLock
In third place, Norton offers a comprehensive set of tech features, as well as some outstanding identity theft protection options.
Like Kaspersky, Norton runs on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
It focuses on three main areas of protection: device security, online privacy, and identity theft prevention.
In the technical arena, it offers unlimited VPN services, malware protection, a thorough firewall, and phishing protection. Additionally, it comes with hosted storage for online backup of sensitive files.
In terms of online security, Norton scores points on blocking malware from suspicious sites, providing anonymous browsing options, and offering parental control features. In addition, you can also block traffic from online advertisers.
Finally, Norton also provides some identity theft protection, though at a lower level than Aura. Since the acquisition of identity theft protection company LifeLock, it offers features like personal information monitoring, credit monitoring, and alerting you to identity threats. If you do become a victim, some of Norton’s plans provide an insurance package and help you recover your data.
Pricing for packages that include identity theft protection starts at $99.49 per year to cover 5 devices.
4 – McAfee Total Protection
Next in line is McAfee Total Protection. It includes antivirus, Firewall and VPN.
In addition, it offers a password manager as well as a file shredder to securely delete confidential information. For parents, McAfee also includes parental protection options.
Going further, it comes with a safe browsing that blocks risky sites, and an identity protection service. The latter allows you to monitor up to 10 email addresses.
Finally, it also comprises various PC optimization features to free up disk space and bandwidth.
Pricing starts at an annual $39.99 for 5 devices.
5 – Bitdefender Total Security
In fourth place, Bitdefender shines with an extensive set of features designed to protect your devices and increase their performance.
Beside real-time protection against malware, VPN, and anti-phishing filters, Bitdefender also offers sophisticated ways to defend yourself against ransomware and advanced attacks. For example, it includes multi-layer ransomware protection, as well as a “safe files” and “rescue environment” feature. These prevent unauthorized changes being made to important files, and reboot your computer in a safe mode if severe threats are detected.
Some other stand-out features of Bitdefender are its Wi-Fi security advisor, password manager, and social media protection.
To round off Bitdefender’s offer, it provides a solid set of options to increase the performance of your devices. These include autopilot, cloud security scanning, as well as different operation modes – from gaming and movie settings to work and battery-saving modes.
Offers start at $89.99 per year. Bitdefender’s software runs on all major platforms.
6 – Avast Ultimate
Next, Avast Ultimate combines four elements in its comprehensive offer – Premium Security, SecureLine VPN, Cleanup Premium, and AntiTrack.
Premium Security offers protection against threats such as viruses, ransomware and spyware. It also identifies vulnerabilities such as weak home Wi-Fi settings.
SecureLine VPN can boast powerful encryption and high connection speeds to help you browse and conduct transactions online safely.
Cleanup Premium, like Bitdefender’s device-boosting features, help you increase the performance of your devices. Features include one-click maintenance and bloatware removal.
AntiTrack, finally, does as its name suggests. It monitors online activity and throws up a red flag if anyone tries to track you.
Pricing starts at an annual $99.99 for one device, and at $119.99 for 10 devices.
7 – Trend Micro Maximum Security
Another comprehensive product to make this list is Trend Micro’s Maximum Security suite.
Based on AI algorithms, it provides ransom- and malware protection, as well as safeguards against online scams and phishing emails.
Additionally, it comes with social media privacy protection, child online safety settings, and a password manager. VPN is included as well.
In terms of identity theft protection, Trend Micro offers dark web screening for personal and sensitive information.
Pricing starts at an $89.95 annually.
8 – Avira Prime
Avira Prime operates on a similar basis as Avast Ultimate. It offers antivirus protection, VPN, and secure browsing. It further comes with a password manager, extensive privacy settings optimization, and a PC cleaner feature.
One thing users should note is that some features are only available on particular operating systems. The uninstaller to remove unwanted apps, for example, is a Mac-only feature, while network protection is available on Android but not iOS.
Annual plans start at $99.99 for 5 devices.
9 – VIPRE Ultimate Security
In ninth place, VIPRE’s Ultimate Security Bundle can boast a powerful VPN, a privacy shield which also blocks access to your webcam and microphone, and a dark web scanner. Going further, it comprises a firewall and email security scans.
VIPRE runs on all major platforms. Pricing starts at $139.99 annually and covers five devices.
10 – Sparta Antivirus
Sparta Antivirus, finally, offers comprehensive malware protection. It comes with real-time advanced threat detection and can flag, contain, and neutralize malware, ransomware, and spyware. It also performs real-time scanning of downloads and executables for viruses. In addition, you can block aggressive adware, and circumvent phishing or spoofed sites.
Pricing is $6 per month.