We’ve previously written about how to lock down Evernote from prying eyes, on your own machine. That doesn’t protect your data, though, once it is out there on Evernote’s servers. While it would be horrible for Evernote’s business if your data were hacked into on their end, you can never be too safe. There is currently no way to encrypt individual Evernote notes, but there are methods for encrypting the contents of individual notes. Read on for three such methods. If you are going to use any of these methods on select notes, make sure that you use descriptive note titles, as the contents of those notes will no longer be searchable once encrypted.
1. Evernote’s Native Encryption
While Evernote doesn’t offer encryption of individual notes, it does offer encryption of note contents, with one catch – that content must be text. Evernote won’t encrypt images, PDF files, or other types of files. To use Evernote’s native encrytpion on a Windows machine, highlight the text that you want to encrypt, and then right-click on it. Select the last option in the pop-up menu that appears, "Encrypt Selected Text." You’ll be presented with an input box like the one above. Fill in your passphrase, along with a hint, and click OK. Just make sure not to forget your passphrase.
AxCrypt is free, open source file encryption for Windows that offers AES encryption with 128-bit keys. It is also ridiculously easy to use once installed. You don’t need to start a stand-alone program. Instead, simply right-click on the file that you want to encrypt, select AxCrypt from the context menu, and then select one of the encryption choices from the submenu. I typically use "Encrypt a copy to .EXE," which makes larger files, but also allows me to open the file on any machine, regardless of whether AxCrypt is installed. Once your file is encrypted, all you need to do is add it to Evernote.
3. PDFTK Builder
One of the drawbacks of AxCrypt is that you must save your file out of Evernote before opening it. If you want to be able to click on a file as you normally would in Evernote, and open it by only entering a password, then you might want another solution. If your file is a PDF file, then PDFTK Builder should suit your needs.
PDFTK Builder is a free graphical interface to the Windows version of PDFTK, a tool that allows you to perform all sorts of actions on PDF files, including 128-bit encryption. To encrypt a file using PDFTK Builder, click the "Add" button in the first tab, and then browse to and select the file that you want to encrypt. Once the document is listed in the "Source PDF Documents" window, then add a strong password in the "User" box under "PDF Document Protection." Click "Save As," and save your document. Make sure you don’t simply save over your old document. At least for me, doing so resulted in a document that wasn’t password protected. Saving it with a new name or in a new directory gave me a PDF file that was password protected, and could be dragged into Evernote.
I’m sure there are many other tools out there that will encrypt files, such as TrueCrypt. What do you use for quick and easy file encryption?