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I have tons of passwords.  I like the idea of using Evernote as a sort of password manager:  

  • Create a note for each username / password, and other applicable details that you have.  
  • Tag it up and leave nice comments to leverage search
  • Highlight > "Encrypt Selected Text" on the portion of the note that contains any sensitive details as plain text.

I understand that Evernote content is heavily encrypted so I feel like this is a reasonable approach to password management.  However there seems to be (at least what I would consider) a security flaw with the "Note History" feature available on Premium accounts in that any information that was stored as plain-text before having been encrypted is easily viewed in a previous version of the note.  Doesn't really protect against shoulder surfing / staying logged in to evernote with an unlocked workstation.  After all: Everything is  stored as plain-text before it has a chance to be encrypted.

So my enhancement requests would be these:

  • Add an option to disable revision history on a per-note and global basis
  • Add an option to delete revision history on a per-note basis
  • Add an option to retain X days of revisions history or Y number of revisions on a per-note and global basis
  • Add an option to re-prompt for password before viewing revision history
  • Add logic that says 'if the text is encrypted on the current version of the note, also encrypt / obfuscate in the history view.  I understand this may be tricky from a 'detect what's encrypted now but wasn't before' point of view.  An alternative would be to implement "if the current version has ANY encryption, then encrypt the entire previous version with the same hash".  This could lead to 'nested' encryptions, but I don't see that as an issue.
  • Add an option to provide a 'global' encryption passphrase (which may or may not be different than the password used to login). Only the hash of that string gets stored (obviously)
    • When a user chooses to "Encrypt Selected Text", they have the option to apply this passphrase rather than typing it in (possibly incorrectly)
    • Similarly, add an option to prompt that the passphrase be entered a second time to verify.  This would reduce the risk of a user entering a passphrase incorrectly, then not being able to decrypt their text to enter it correctly.

Also:  I'd like to understand how encrypted text is handled if/when a premium user goes back to being a basic user.

I'm an evernote Premium user.  I use it on multiple platforms: OSX App, Ipad, Iphone, Linux (Web)

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Hi.  Evernote isn't an ideal password manager and there are dozens on the market.  You might like to check how many of these features Evernote can match.  I can't see Evernote being able to re-engineer their database structure to allow the multiple optional disable/ delete history and encryption options you're looking for.  It's certainly going to be hugely expensive to do so,  and may be technically impossible.  The best encryption option at present seems to be Saferoom.

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13 minutes ago, gazumped said:

Hi.  Evernote isn't an ideal password manager and there are dozens on the market.  You might like to check how many of these features Evernote can match.  I can't see Evernote being able to re-engineer their database structure to allow the multiple optional disable/ delete history and encryption options you're looking for.  It's certainly going to be hugely expensive to do so,  and may be technically impossible.  The best encryption option at present seems to be Saferoom.

Thanks for the input.  

Obviously I don't know what the evernote backend looks like, but I would think that this wouldn't be terribly hard to introduce:  Simply decorate the primary key of each note with some metadata that says 'keep / don't keep' history on this note.  If / when that flag changes, the appropriate triggers fire and SQL (or other) scripts are invoked to do the cleanup.  Of course, they're probably using some sort of Big Data / NoSQL technology, but the same concepts would apply.  The secondary checks on passwords would all be handled at the application/presentation layer instead of the data layer

Other than the shortcomings cited in this thread, why do you say that Evernote isn't (couldn't be) an ideal password manager?

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19 hours ago, areese801 said:

I have tons of passwords.  I like the idea of using Evernote as a sort of password manager:  

I agree with @gazumped that Evernote isn't the best password manager.
I use the LastPass service.

I also agree with using an external encrypting app would be an immediate solution.
Saferoom seems to be a solution

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I use LastPass too,  and I'd be lost without it.  Of the dozen or so comparison points listed in PC Magazine (my link above - and I think they missed out some good ones too),  the worst password manager quoted can still do at least half.  Evernote can do exactly two - with a bit of leeway - and that's 'import' and 'export' passwords.  Evernote does it by me manually copying and pasting the contents of a field from it to web,  or from web to it;  and good luck if that field just shows "*********". 

My LastPass pops up when I log into a new (to it) web page and offers to store the user name and password along with vital statistics about the login page,  the age of the password,  and various folder and tag possibilities.  Thereafter I may not see the auth screen ever again - I often get logged in so fast I just see my account page. 

Needless to say my LastPass password is a weighty but memorable phrase with its own idiosyncrasies in caPs and numb3rs - but it means I can carry my passwords over in any browser.  Setting up a new laptop forinstance is a breeze - I can log in to anything and authorise all my transferred software very quickly.

With all the features that Evernote doesn't have,  it makes no sense for them to even try to compete with established players in a mature market.  

On the other points you make - agreed no-one knows how easy or otherwise it might be to make some changes in history retention - but any company with 100M+ users needs to make sure they don't break what does work,  and whatever new features they introduce aren't regarded as irrelevant bells and whistles by any significant number of customers.  Everyone's suggested improvements are vital to themselves - but the people who wanted nested folders / better chat / no chat / text styles / colors / handwriting OCR / change conflict management etc etc tend to think their changes are vital,  and everyone else's are just frippery.

Evernote gets to make the final decision - eventually - of what flies and what doesn't..  :)

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I hear what you guys are saying.  For the record, I too use LastPass.  Admittedly, I haven't used it as much as it sounds like you guys have so I'm going to re-evaluate it.

Nevertheless - passwords aside - the fact that any 'encrypted' text can be quite easily viewed from a note's history is a security flaw (2 clicks, no passphrase required).  If a user is under the impression that some part of a sensitive note is encrypted, it should be just that (and EVERYWHERE that it is viewable!)  ....Even if it's just a love note to the mailman or a super-secret christmas shopping list.

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Agreed that's a flaw.  The way to encrypt content without inadvertently sharing it in the history is to have a Local Notebook in which you set up notes which might contain that sort of information,  and encrypt them before syncing.  My paranoia is such that I have about four levels of security.  There's Paper: which lives in a folder,  File: which is on my primary workstation,  Local Notebook:  which is pretty weak stuff anyway,  and Encrypted: for stuff I absolutely have to see in more than one location.  Everything else is synced random noise.

Actually it occurs to me that there are ways around the history - move a note between synced and unsynced notebooks and history is lost;  export and reimport a note and its history is lost.  Shuffle any notes about which you feel concerned between a couple of notebooks and you should be OK...

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29 minutes ago, gazumped said:

Actually it occurs to me that there are ways around the history - move a note between synced and unsynced notebooks and history is lost;  export and reimport a note and its history is lost.  Shuffle any notes about which you feel concerned between a couple of notebooks and you should be OK...

Just did a bit of tinkering myself.  I'll mention it here in case it helps a reader in the future:  

Another workaround is to (at least from the Mac Desktop App), Right click the note, and "Copy to [Notebook Name] again".  Move the original to the trash, then permanently delete it.  The new copy of the note will have no history. 

As a side note, It looks like LastPass has a 'secure note' feature which essentially does exactly what i was hoping to see in evernote in my original post.  I'm unsure if this is a new feature or not but it's there.

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On 1/11/2016 at 0:02 PM, areese801 said:

I understand that Evernote content is heavily encrypted

This is incorrect.  You Evernote content is NOT encrypted at all.  The ONLY encryption that it has is during transit over the Internet.

I agree with @gazumped, Evernote is a very, very poor tool for password management.  You should checkout dedicated PW managers like 1Password and LastPass.  If you read the benefits and features of these apps, you will clearly understand why you should not use Evernote for that purpose.

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Hi everyone, I’m Evernote’s head of security.  @areese801, thanks for pointing out this issue.  Here's how we plan to address it: 

Our current plan is to change the encrypted text feature to only allow you to create a new encrypted text block, and disable your ability to highlight and encrypt existing text. Then any text you type in the encrypted text box will have always been encrypted. This isn't going to stop you from cutting/copying text from outside the encrypted block into it, but that is something you have to do intentionally and it would be out of our control.

We did consider a few of the other options that you suggested, but we decided that other solutions would be too difficult to explain for most users other than our power users, or would require us to dig into the content of users’ accounts in ways that would be inconsistent with our Privacy Policy.

In the meantime, there are a couple of workarounds, including the one that @gazumped mentioned. You can make a copy of the note and delete the old note. The note history is lost when you make a copy.  If you want to create an encrypted text block that will never get snapshotted in plaintext, you can enter a few spaces into the note body, highlight those spaces and choose "Encrypt Selected Text".

Thanks again for raising this issue and I'll drop an update into this topic once we release a fix.

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4 hours ago, Rich Tener said:

Our current plan is to change the encrypted text feature to only allow you to create a new encrypted text block, and disable your ability to highlight and encrypt existing text. Then any text you type in the encrypted text box will have always been encrypted.

Thanks.  This is definitely moving in the right direction.  ?

Will this new "encrypted text block" support/allow ONLY plain text, or will it allow rich text, tables, images, and attachments?

A great answer would be all of the above.  Then we could, in essence, encrypt everything we would normally put in a Note, while also allowing us to put some keywords, summary, and/or abstract at the top that is not encrypted.  Thus we would still have great search capability while protecting our  sensitive info in the encrypted block.

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On 1/11/2016 at 1:02 PM, areese801 said:

I have tons of passwords.  I like the idea of using Evernote as a sort of password manager:  

I can't stress enough how much I would recommend lastpass as a WAY better password manager than evernote.  Not only does lastpass have zero knowledge of EVERYTHING you put into it... but it has addons for all browsers and mobile phones.  It will auto fill your passwords both on your computer and on your mobile phone. (Can fill passwords both in web pages and apps on your mobile)... it's completely searchable... can keep password histories... can generate random passwords for you so you have great strong passwords... the list of features go on and on and on. last pass can also store all your credit card info and auto fill that as well... and again... it's 100% secure... no-one at lastpass ever has any access to your info... EVER... and they have much better 2nd factor authentication options than evernote as well.. (I still don't understand why evernote won't support google authenticator as an 2nd factor option)

If you want a password manager I would strongly recommend you use an app that's designed for that :-) 

That's my 2 cents anyway.  

There are others as well... dashlane I think is one... I can't vouch for that though... I am a long time lastpass user and it just gets better and better.  (

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On January 12, 2016 at 9:12 AM, areese801 said:

Nevertheless - passwords aside - the fact that any 'encrypted' text can be quite easily viewed from a note's history is a security flaw (2 clicks, no passphrase required).  If a user is under the impression that some part of a sensitive note is encrypted, it should be just that

Agreed

Further to @gazumped's comment above; if you are really concerned about security, you should never be doing your encrypt/decrypt in a synchronized notebook.  Transfer the note to a local notebook, do the encrypt/decrypt there, and then transfer the note back to your sync'd notebook.

This resolves your note history concern.

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This is great news about encrypting. Is there any progress on the password protection of a whole notebook as many people have been asking for for many years?

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13 hours ago, David Hegarty said:

This is great news about encrypting. Is there any progress on the password protection of a whole notebook as many people have been asking for for many years?

Evernote are (we're told) busy with an ongoing rewrite of the editor software (there's a pun in there somewhere..) which may bear on this,  but as yet no news about password protections specifically;  sorry.  :(

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16 hours ago, David Hegarty said:

This is great news about encrypting. Is there any progress on the password protection of a whole notebook as many people have been asking for for many years?

Agreed... I've been waiting for this for years... I literally check twice a year for alternatives to evernote that can do what I need and also have this feature.... 

Sorry to cross post... this came up as an off topic on another thread... But I figured I would post my 2 cents on this thread as well that is dedicated to encryption....

 

Quote

My main thing is this... I don't need to encrypt most text on my pc... I don't let people log into my windows profile... and if anyone who ever uses my PC might know how to get to files of a different user, it would be me... Basically... the people I want to protect my note from is the Cloud/evernote.    Which is why I want something completely different.  A notebook that remains unencrypted and fully searchable on my own PC... I can access with no password (except the first time when I login initially)... but that is encrypted before sending up to the cloud such that evernote employees could never access it.  

I know that

#1 this might mean no image text search because I think OCR is done in the cloud... I'm fine with that.

#2 Some people DO want the notes to be stored encrypted locally, which is why I recommend 2 types of encrypted notebooks.  Fully encrypted. (requires password every time you want to open the notebook) and cloud encrypted... works like any other notebook in your local PC app, but is encrypted such that evernote (the company) could never read the note on their servers. (Much like how my lastpass works... I leave it unlocked on my personal PC profile that I never let anyone use... so I can early search and use it... but lastpass the company still has zero knowledge) 

 

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@JMichaelTX, the new encrypted text block will still only encrypt plain text like it does today. Adding fully encrypted notes or notebooks still isn't a business priority, so we don't have any plans to add those features.

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6 minutes ago, Rich Tener said:

@JMichaelTX, the new encrypted text block will still only encrypt plain text like it does today. Adding fully encrypted notes or notebooks still isn't a business priority, so we don't have any plans to add those features.

Rich - It's sad that your customers privacy is not a business priority...  In any case - I just heard from Jason the product manager "likes the idea" of encrypted notebooks... Though I was a little skeptical... people have been asking for this for years... it seems like the lack of it being on the road map is a very deliberate and discussed decision within the Evernote company.  It seems like Evernote has explicitly decided not to pursue the feature.  In which case, it feels like Jason's comment is leading us on... giving us a glimmer of hope that the sorely missing feature is coming, when in reality it's already explicitly been decided that you won't do it. So in any case... please be straight with us... I don't want to be lead on... if Evernote doesn't plan to include such a feature I want to ramp up my efforts to find an alternative.   

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Rich Tener said:

Adding fully encrypted notes or notebooks

That isn't exactly what I was asking for.  I just wanted to include rich text, images, and attachments in the encrypted block.

16 minutes ago, Rich Tener said:

still isn't a business priority

That's hard to understand.  There is a huge awareness, by both individuals and companies, of the need for highly secure, encryption of anything that is put into the Internet Cloud.  Few companies do this well, and none that offer the services that Evernote does.  Seems to me that offering zero-knowledge encryption of anything stored in Evernote would be a core function of the Evernote service.

Thanks for the reply, and for your participation in these forums.

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14 minutes ago, JMichaelTX said:

That isn't exactly what I was asking for.  I just wanted to include rich text, images, and attachments in the encrypted block.

That's hard to understand.  There is a huge awareness, by both individuals and companies, of the need for highly secure, encryption of anything that is put into the Internet Cloud.  Few companies do this well, and none that offer the services that Evernote does.  Seems to me that offering zero-knowledge encryption of anything stored in Evernote would be a core function of the Evernote service.

Thanks for the reply, and for your participation in these forums.

I couldn't agree with this more... If Evernote doesn't get with the game and take security/zero-knowledge more seriously, someone is going to come along and grab your market out from under you... 

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3 minutes ago, Glyph said:

I couldn't agree with this more... If Evernote doesn't get with the game and take security/zero-knowledge more seriously, someone is going to come along and grab your market out from under you... 

Well we can only hope that someone does if this is Evernote's approach to development of their product.

 

We have just paid for premium subscription for a small business - this is a feature we would certainly like. I will definitely be on the lookout for an alternative that does do security properly. I am not even concerned about whole notebook 'encryption' per se, a simple password protection of notebooks is all we are asking for. 

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1 hour ago, Rich Tener said:

@JMichaelTX, the new encrypted text block will still only encrypt plain text like it does today. Adding fully encrypted notes or notebooks still isn't a business priority, so we don't have any plans to add those features.

thanks for clarifying evernote's position on this.

from my perspective, encryption isn't really an option -- it's been a necessity for me in two careers now, so i cannot easily imagine why it wouldn't be a business priority. 

what teacher doesn't handle sensitive, personal information about students? what lawyer doesn't? what doctor doesn't? what business doesn't? what person anywhere in our modern society doesn't (health information, ssn, etc.)? encryption is often in the news and it even came up in the presidential debates in the us. i think you may be underestimating how high people's expectations are for security and privacy. it's no longer a fringe issue obsessed over by paranoid folks like me :)

 ironically, evernote itself was hacked and the hackers got to our usernames and user emails that were apparently not encrypted, and evernote was also criticized in the tech community for inadequately encrypting our passwords. this led to a password reset for everyone (about a hundred million customers?) and a significant loss in users as well as trust in the company. you'd think that encryption would be the number one priority for evernote after something like that. evernote is its own cautionary tale...

but, obviously i feel pretty strongly about this one, and i've been beating the drums here about it for many years now. i'd urge you to reconsider your priorities. i understand that you have to do what you think is best for evernote, but i think you are wrong on this one. 

why not just encrypt everything and be done with it? i don't understand the reluctance (for years now). some of your competitors big (onenote) and small (voodoopad and devonthink) got it figured out, so it isn't an insurmountable technical challenge. it's just not a priority to give your users the tools they need to protect themselves. that seems odd to me, and it sets evernote up for  another painful hit when (not if) it is hacked again.

sorry to be so blunt. 

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19 minutes ago, GrumpyMonkey said:

from my perspective, encryption isn't really an option

I agree.  As you mentioned, its absolutely required for education and business if they are going post into sync'd notebooks.  
My work-around has been to use pdf attachments that have their built-in encryption. There's actually some advantages to this over notes in Evernote, although keeping passwords list is a pain.

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@JMichaelTX, thanks for the clarification on what you were looking for. We hadn't internally considered enhancing the encrypted block to be an encrypted note body contained within a note body. I think if we expand the current note text encryption feature, we'd just look at encrypting the entire note body rather than pieces of it.

@Glyph, Like Jason mentioned, the product managers and I have discussed it. They like the idea of expanding our end-to-end encryption feature to include full notes and notebooks. The only reason it isn't on the roadmap is that we have to prioritize our resources to focus on features and bug fixes that impact the largest number of users.

Thanks everyone for your feedback and comments.

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9 minutes ago, Rich Tener said:

The only reason it isn't on the roadmap is that we have to prioritize our resources to focus on features and bug fixes that impact the largest number of users.

Three things...

1. How does not not impact a large number of users?  If encryption where more robust, and easy to use I am pretty sure, as many others have pointed out, that MOST of your users will take advantage of it... Especially with how much you guys are pushing evernote for businesses... 

2. What sorts of features are you working on that impact so many more users than quality encryption?  I'm just curious... Evernote seems pretty fully featured already... the biggest glaring hole seems to be quality encryption options... That's that part that is sorely lagging behind... 

2. Just a thought... if you guys get hacked again, and don't ALREADY have high quality zero knowledge features implemented, I imagine you will be impacted by losing a lot of users.  I would plan ahead... before you get eclipsed by some company that better meet's peoples needs.  Encryption and Security are just getting more and more public attention these days... that trend is not going to turn around anytime soon.  

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54 minutes ago, Rich Tener said:

@JMichaelTX, thanks for the clarification on what you were looking for. We hadn't internally considered enhancing the encrypted block to be an encrypted note body contained within a note body. I think if we expand the current note text encryption feature, we'd just look at encrypting the entire note body rather than pieces of it.

@Glyph, Like Jason mentioned, the product managers and I have discussed it. They like the idea of expanding our end-to-end encryption feature to include full notes and notebooks. The only reason it isn't on the roadmap is that we have to prioritize our resources to focus on features and bug fixes that impact the largest number of users.

Thanks everyone for your feedback and comments.

for people with tens of thousands of notes, note by note encryption seems less desirable than notebook-level encryption. but, i suppose it depends on the implementation (select multiple notes and encrypt with a click and then moving them from a local notebook to a synced one could be workable). 

if i understand you correctly, you recognize better encryption as something desirable (who wouldn't?) but not a priority, because it doesn't impact a large number of users. i beg to differ. 

1. hacks affect all of us

the hack of evernote a few years back affected the entire user base, and we were all potentially exposed to unauthorized access (no one even knows the extent), so i'd say better encryption would also affect the entire user base. we've lived with text editor bugs since 2008, and we can go a bit longer i think, if it means better security / privacy. we've also been asking for better encryption from the beginning, so this isn't a sudden thing -- it is a longstanding feature request that has somehow not been as highly prioritized as context, work chat, or any number of other things. it always gets pushed onto the back burner -- we were promised "sexy" encryption, so it was clearly under development at some point, but that evaporated, and we never saw it. people don't use the current encryption much because it only affects text blocks, but if there was something that worked at the notebook level, the sensitive stuff could be easily cordoned off from hackers, and i think people would be more likely to use it.

2. integrations expose us to risk

another point to consider is that integrations with apps that requests access to our account grant 100% access, and this is a risk many users are uncomfortable taking. enabling better encryption would greatly mitigate the risk and perhaps contribute to more usage there as well.

3. evernote vs. competitors

encryption isn't a magic bullet, but it does the work of mitigating the negative impact of undesirable events (hackers, rogue employees, nosy relatives, etc.). people know this and they think about it now when considering apps. i think it would have a huge impact in terms of evernote's image -- if people are comparing onenote and evernote (plenty of that going on out there), evernote comes up lacking in this regard. 

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59 minutes ago, Rich Tener said:

I think if we expand the current note text encryption feature, we'd just look at encrypting the entire note body rather than pieces of it.

OK, that makes sense.  When you finally decide to offer full note encryption, please provide an option to NOT encrypt the Note metadata, like Title, Tags, dates, etc.

Thanks.

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

I agree.  As you mentioned, its absolutely required for education and business if they are going post into sync'd notebooks.  
My work-around has been to use pdf attachments that have their built-in encryption. There's actually some advantages to this over notes in Evernote, although keeping passwords list is a pain.

it's a workaround that doesn't scale well. i strongly recommend it to anyone with sensitive data they want to store in evernote, but, ideally, evernote would just do it.

there is a third-party integration (saferoom) that managed to do it in a few months with a couple of developers (interested users should give it a try), but evernote with all of its developers still hasn't managed it. i don't understand that. evernote's competitors have managed to do it as well. i think the priorities at evernote are in the wrong order and have been for about eight years now.

after the snowden leaks, evernote's competitors woke up and got it done. heck, apple is just down the street and they made one of the biggest committments to encryption. they seem to think it is important for their users (many of them also evernote users) , so i am not sure why evernote thinks it isn't a priority. to be fair, i should mention that icloud is not encrypted, but apple has also been hammered with bad press about its cloud security (honan, jennifer lawrence, etc.), so there is that. maybe the next hack at evernote will be the one that pushes it onto the roadmap.

in the meantime, as you said, there are options for users who need security / privacy sooner rather than later.

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13 minutes ago, JMichaelTX said:

OK, that makes sense.  When you finally decide to offer full note encryption, please provide an option to NOT encrypt the Note metadata, like Title, Tags, dates, etc.

Thanks.

Who are you trying to protect your notes from?  Friends/Family who use your windows profile?  I ask because I'm trying to think of a situation where I would need to use tags to search encrypted notes.  (Unless we are thinking evernote would not be able to search encrypted note bodies, which is not at all what I want....)  If Notebook encryption is implemented the way that I am talking about, you don't need to worry about meta-data also being encrypted... all meta data and the entire notebooks index will be encrypted as well... BUT when your notebook is "unlocked" evernote could still search through ALL the encrypted text. Including the note body/contents.  In this way you just have a "private" notebook.  And you can right click to lock or unlock it.  (perhaps an option to auto-relock after X minutes) unlocking requires a password.  When it is unlocked the client (even the web client could do this) could search through the entire unencrypted versions of the note bodies, while evernote (the company) still has zero-knowledge of the contents (this is how lastpass works, and how I want evernote to work).  Would that meet your needs?  

 

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9 minutes ago, Glyph said:

If Notebook encryption is implemented the way that I am talking about, you don't need to worry about meta-data also being encrypted... all meta data and the entire notebooks index will be encrypted as well... BUT when your notebook is "unlocked" evernote could still search through ALL the encrypted text. Including the note body/contents.

There has been much discussion in the past that one reason to NOT encrypt Notes is that it removed the ability to search for Notes.

I'm not sure how Evernote might encrypt entire notes, but I want to make sure that I can still search using the Note Title, Tags, dates, etc.

It might not be feasible to decrypt ALL notes on mobile devices.  Unless you use "offline notebooks", only the note header data (metadata) is actually stored on the mobile device.  So I definitely need a way to search the metadata on encrypted notes that are on my mobile device, but the content is not decrypted until I select a specific note for viewing.

And looking forward to the day that we have "selective sync" on desktops/laptops, I will still need a way to search for notes that are NOT stored in full on my desktop/laptop.  Searching metadata is one way to provide this.

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36 minutes ago, JMichaelTX said:

There has been much discussion in the past that one reason to NOT encrypt Notes is that it removed the ability to search for Notes.

I can see why a lot of people would be scared of not being able to search encrypted notes (especially given the currently ridiculously kindergarten encryption implementation evernote has now)... But in reality I don't see any reason why this can't easily be done.  LastPass has zero knowledge yet in any phone app, browser addon... or even just by going to the lastpass.com on a public PC (i.e. no local app or addon), I can log in and search ALL my passwords, and secure notes easily.  (Not that I would do that on a public PC... never know about key loggers and such... but just saying... it's totally possible for a web company to have zero-knowledge and yet still provide full search capability to a user without even having a native installed app)

That said... I understand people might wind up with WAY more data in evernote than in lastpass... hence your concern about unencrypting everything on a cell phone.  To be clear, the whole notes don't need to be decrypted to allow this.. just the indexes.  So when you unlock the notebook, it could perhaps just decrypt titles and indexes at first.  Then when you click on a note, decrypt the content.  

The only legitimate downside I can think of as far as search goes, if encryption is implemented in an intelligent way... is the OCR. (anyone feel free to tell me if they can think of others)  I think Evernote does the character recognition in photos on their servers... so of course if you have page scans in an encrypted notebook, their servers never get to see the unencrypted copy, to index the words in it.  It would be great if they included an option to run OCR locally for this, but I don't even care about that. I can manually put some meta data on the note in that case.  I just want a quality hassle free implementation of encrypted notebooks... then all I need to do is drag a note there, or create it in there to begin with, and I know my data is reasonably safe while it lives in the cloud.  And yet, I can still super easily search it, while it is unlocked, just like any other local notebook.  

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, GrumpyMonkey said:

we were promised "sexy" encryption


Wow... I didn't even know about this.. over 2.5 years ago Evernote CEO Phil Libin said this... And now we are being told it's not a business priority... sad... I'm jumping ship as soon as I find a decent compeitor. I don't need all these context and chat features... just a notebook... that I can trust and feel secure with... 
http://fortune.com/2013/07/02/evernote-is-interested-in-more-than-your-notes/

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7/2/2013  Libin suggests there’s much more to Evernote than just note-taking. Libin talks of a new “super-sexy encryption” feature — his words — tentatively due later this year.

I used to be an enthusiastic evernote user recommending it to all my friends... Not anymore...

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35 minutes ago, Glyph said:

To be clear, the whole notes don't need to be decrypted to allow this.. just the indexes.  So when you unlock the notebook, it could perhaps just decrypt titles and indexes at first.  Then when you click on a note, decrypt the content.

Maybe, maybe not.  Unless you have access to the Evernote source code, It think it would be hard (impossible?) to accurately speculate about what needs to be done, and about how hard/easy it is.

IAC, I see no reason not to provide for the option I have requested, to be able to always search metadata.  I'm not sure why anyone would argue against this.  It is just an option, you would NOT have to exercise it.

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5 minutes ago, JMichaelTX said:

Maybe, maybe not.  Unless you have access to the Evernote source code, It think it would be hard (impossible?) to accurately speculate about what needs to be done, and about how hard/easy it is.

I said nothing about how easy or hard it is. :-) You are right... I would need to see Evernote source to know that... but I don't need to see the current evernote source code to know what is technically possible...  I am a programmer, and I have a reasonable idea about how one might implement this... Without knowing exactly how evernote does things currently... I know for a fact they use an index of some sort... there is simply no way they search through gigabytes of data instantly on an average home PC without an index... and if there is an index, I understand as a programmer that one could technically decrypt and search an index without any need to decrypt the content it points to (until/unless it is desired to do so).  Now even if evernote's source code is so muddled up and intertwined in bad-code-smell ways that it makes this hard to do... it has no bearing on what is, or is not possible.  Honestly... if their code is muddled to the point of making this hard, then I think the refactoring and organization they need to do, to get encryption done right, is probably a good thing... that will lead to a better and more stable and secure app in general. 

 

5 minutes ago, JMichaelTX said:

IAC, I see no reason not to provide for the option I have requested, to be able to always search metadata.  I'm not sure why anyone would argue against this.  It is just an option, you would NOT have to exercise it.

I agree... the more options the merrier...  But since we can't even get them to do it at all, I worry they are not aiming to make an encryption feature with tons of options... My hope is that if they do anything, they do something that at least provides a reasonably non-onerous workflow for as many use-cases as possible while also making it very clear what's private and what's not.

I think** the most likely single option to provide a non-onerous workflow for the majority of people who each use evernote differently... is a "private" notebook, that you can "lock" and "unlock" at will.  In your use-case, you could handle this two ways... you could choose to always leave it unlocked and just always lock your PC when you are not sitting at it, and have family/friends use a guest profile. (that's good privacy practice anyway)  However, if you like to let other people use your windows profile, or fear someone snatching your laptop, such that you want it always encrypted... then at worst, anytime you want to search for a note that is protected, you would have to type your password once... Which shouldn't be too much of a problem because you were going to have to type your password anyway after the search to decrypt the contents, so it has only changed when you need to type your password... before or after the search...

Now granted - your idea of encryption might be easier for them to implement than mine... BUT I'm betting that mine will give more people a non-onerous workflow with a single implementation.  However yea - if we can get them to do all sorts of bells and wistles I have a few ideas about various security options. :-)

 

**Anyone feel free to contradict me :-)  I don't claim to know all... and in fact if anyone has any better ideas for a single encryption implementation that would satisfy as many use-cases as possible please share... 

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i'm no expert on encryption, and i am sure every piece of software has its peculiarities, so i cannot say exactly what is reasonable to expect from evernote on this.

but, i can say that other software developers have solved this problem.

1. can you encrypt a section in onenote and search it? yes (apparently -- it seems that you may need to re-enter your password if you navigate away from it). 

2. can you encrypt your online database in devonthink (evernote competitor) and search it? yes.

3. can you encrypt your database in lastpass and search it? yes.

4. can you encrypt your database in voodoopad (evernote competitor) and search it?yes.

there are others, and there is no significant burden put on the user in any that i have used (maybe in onenote, but i don't use that enough to say for sure). in general, it just works, and our data is protected.

the point is that it isn't so much an issue of what evernote *can* do, but what it *will* do. if the will isn't there (it isn't even on the roadmap) then there doesn't seem to be much to gain here in quibbling about how the search for the feature that isn't even being planned would work. 

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1 hour ago, Glyph said:

I think** the most likely single option to provide a non-onerous workflow for the majority of people who each use evernote differently... is a "private" notebook, that you can "lock" and "unlock" at will.  In your use-case, you could handle this two ways... you could choose to always leave it unlocked and just always lock your PC when you are not sitting at it,

@Glyph:  You are now doing what we have long complained about Evernote doing:  presuming that you know what is best for me.  You seem to want encryption one way and only one way -- your way.

1 hour ago, Glyph said:

I worry they are not aiming to make an encryption feature with tons of options.

A gross exaggeration.  No one, certainly not me, asked for a "ton" of options.  I asked for one option.  We do know that the metadata is stored separately from the content.  So it seems like this is a reasonable request.

1 hour ago, Glyph said:

Now granted - your idea of encryption might be easier for them to implement than mine... BUT I'm betting that mine will give more people a non-onerous workflow with a single implementation.

I see no basis for that assertion.  You also continue to ignore the issue with not having all note content on mobile devices, and ignoring the need for selective sync.

I suggest that we leave it that you have different ideas of how encryption could work than I do, without either of us trying to assert which is best.  You have a strong, fixed opinion, which is fine, but I don't want to debate this with you.  I think our focus needs to be on convincing Evernote to provide zero-knowledge encryption option for all data types put into Evernote.

Have a good evening.

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1 hour ago, JMichaelTX said:

@Glyph:   You seem to want encryption one way and only one way -- your way. ...You have a strong, fixed opinion...

Apologies if I upset you.  I'm not sure what gave you the impression I think only my ideas are best... 

I'm always curious to hear opposing views... I encourage people to point out flaws in my logic... :-)  That's the best way I can sharpen my logic!  

I tried to make that clear in my post...

Quote

I think** the most likely single option...

**Anyone feel free to contradict me :-)  I don't claim to know all... and in fact if anyone has any better ideas for a single encryption implementation that would satisfy as many use-cases as possible please share... 

That said, since you said you don't want to debate I won't respond to the rest of your post.  But if you change your mind, I'd be happy to respecfully debate the pros and cons of various approaches... I'd love to hear the flaws you find in my logic.  If Evernote does ever expand encryption they will already have some ideas bounced around between real users with different use cases... And even If Evernote never expands encryption I'm always happy to debate just to have someone point out any flaws in my logic, to make me rethink my opinions, and see if I can back them up or not.  No better way to sharpen my logic than to debate with other smart people.  :-)

 

Anyway - I'm about to go check out devonthink and voodoopad... See if I can get away from evernote since they don't seem to take privacy seriously even after being hacked and promising "sexy" encryption...  

 

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On 1/28/2016 at 2:13 PM, Rich Tener said:

Thanks again for raising this issue and I'll drop an update into this topic once we release a fix.

@Rich Tener - Any updates on this effort?

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Evernote has come out with some nice updates this year.  It would be amazing if encryption would at least become one of their priorities this year as well.

For now I would settle for being able to encrypt notes or part of notes (including attachments) and give up the ability to search for them even.  As long as the titles and tags are still available.

I just cannot upload everything I would like to in evernote like tax documents and other private attachments.  As a premium user I am also looking for an alternative, although I would much rather stick it out with evernote if at least this encryption option were on the table.  

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