Fear. Stress. Discomfort. These are some of the emotions you may experience should your private information fall into the wrong hands. Or worse, goes public. If you’ve ever misplaced a credit card or had your wallet stolen you’ll appreciate the desperation and nervousness that follows while you scramble to cancel cards and accounts so that no one can use your identity or your money. Now imagine if some mischievous character finds a key to your house. They wait quietly out of sight and carefully watch what you do from day-to-day. Then, when the time is right they simple let themselves in and help themselves to everything you own. But what’s worse is that they take your irreplaceable personal items and memories too. This dastardly person is now armed with practically everything they need to become you. They wouldn’t need to steal your credit card. They would be able to walk into your bank and apply for one, as you!
Evernote users, this is your time to rejoice. Evernote offers five levels of protection that you can apply to your account today. Explained here are those five levels and how they apply to you.
Your username and password is the first line of defence for any eyes attempting to pry into your Evernote life. Nevertheless it is very important to keep this password secure. There are many ways to come up with passwords for different services. The main rule is to keep it long and keep it complicated. The longer and/or more complicated (mix of letters, numbers and symbols) it is the more unlikely it is that unwanted eyes will be able to “guess” it. Another good idea is to change your password on a regular basis. Consider changing it every three to six months.
In October of 2013 Evernote introduced what’s known as two-factor authentication. This means that in order to log in to your Evernote account, either from a new device or location, or if you have not logged in for a while, you’ll need your regular username and password along with a special number that changes every 30 seconds. This number is only available on your smart phone or via text message (Evernote Premium only). Using the Google Authenticator app (iOS | Android) you scan a QR code that can be found in the account settings area when you log in to your Evernote account on the web. From that point on whenever your asked for the 6 digit authentication code you only need to launch the Google Authenticator app to see what the number is. The result of this security layer is that even if someone manages to get hold of your username and password, they still won’t be able to log in without this extra code, which only you have and which is part of your phone. Unless you have had your phone stolen. Then it might be a problem. Still, the more parts to getting access to your Evernote life, the harder it is for someone other than you to do so.
Even if someone does manage to get past your username, password and authentication codes, you can secure super sensitive parts of your Evernote life by encrypting selected parts of content in selected notes. So if you have something like a note with all your bank details in it, you can select all the content in that note and encrypt it with yet another password. Every time you encrypt a text snippet in Evernote you have the option to use a different password. When you encrypt content you will see it disappear before your eyes and replaced with some dots. In order to see the encrypted content just click on the dots and select to show it again. When you do this it does not permanently expose/decrypt the content. Evernote will only display it until you either change notes or close Evernote. The only drawback with encrypting content is that it will not be searchable anymore. That’s because it’s encrypted on the Evernote service as a whole, not just your device, so the magic that makes your Evernote life searchable won’t be able to read it – it won’t know the password.
The Evernote application runs on your device (computer or smart phone usually) and everything you put into Evernote is stored in their systems somewhere (so it can sync your information to other devices and allow you to search through everything). So you may wonder what could happen to the information as it moves around the internet from your computer up to the Evernote system. What if some of this information was intercepted by our devious character? Fortunately, everything that is sent between you and Evernote is encrypted in such a way that only your computer and the Evernote system can decrypt it. So even if some of your Evernote life was intercepted it would be practically useless. Just gibberish. If you want to know the type of encryption used here is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). This is the same type of encryption that banks use to send and receive information and when you log in to do internet banking. It’s also the same security that should be used whenever you enter your credit card information when buying something online.
The last level of defence of your Evernote life is, you! You have ultimate responsibility for your own safety in today’s digital world. There are some simple ways you can help to ensure that everything in your Evernote account stays safe. Firstly, if you ever use Evernote on a shared computer (such as in an internet café) always remember to log out when you’re finished! If you don’t then the next person to use that same computer could possible look through the history and jump straight back into your account. Secondly, if you’re an Evernote Premium user add a PIN to your mobile devices. If you ever lose your phone or tablet and prying eyes open the Evernote app they will need to get past the PIN code entry first. Lastly, just be sensible about how you use Evernote. For example, it would be ludicrous to put your financial records in a publicly shared notebook.
That was a brief and high-level overview of the various security and safety measures you can find use to better protect your Evernote life. You can find out a lot more about Evernote security and other ways you can use Evernote in my book, Evernote Every Day, available as a PDF or eBook.