One easy way to add a layer of security is by using Privnote – a free online service that allows users to create encrypted messages that self-destruct after being read. Here’s an overview of what Privnote is, how it works, and why it is useful for keeping texts private.
Privnote for Sharing Private Messages
There are several key benefits to using Privnote to send sensitive information or have private conversations:
- Privnote uses client-side 256-bit AES encryption to scramble your messages. This makes it very difficult for third parties to intercept and read your notes. The encryption happens in your browser before the data gets sent to Privnote’s server.
- Because Privnote notes delete themselves automatically after being read once, your private messages don’t linger on the internet forever. There’s no digital paper trail since nothing is stored on your devices or in your email inbox either.
- You don’t have to create an account or give any personal information to use Privnote. Just visit the website and start encrypting notes to share through links. This enhances privacy.
- Users only need an internet connection and browser to access Privnote. There’s no app to download or install. The simplicity makes Privnote easy to use on the fly for quick private messages.
Privnote use cases- When is it helpful?
There are many situations where sending encrypted self-destructing notes can be advantageous:
- Sharing sensitive info – Privnote is great for anything confidential, like sending passwords, financial data, addresses, or medical information. The self-destruct feature minimizes risks if the link is accidentally forwarded or accessed improperly.
- Private conversations – You carry out fully private discussions over an extended period by exchanging new Privnotes back and forth. Since nothing gets permanently stored, there’s minimal risk to your privacy.
- Tech support – IT professional’s private textto share error logs, screenshots, or system info with colleagues without exposing customer data. The notes automatically disappear after serving their purpose.
- Anonymous tips – Sources anonymously send tips or leak information to journalists while avoiding identification. The encrypted note leaves no digital trail back to the sender.
- Cybersecurity – Infosec analysts or ethical hackers securely share snippets of malicious code or attack indicators with peers, without worrying about the information leaking more widely.
- Quick notes – Privnote acts like quick-burn digital sticky notes. You jot down grocery lists, directions, and instructions and share them instantly in a secure, ephemeral format.
- Personal privacy – People in abusive relationships or other vulnerable situations use Privnote to communicate discreetly without their conversations appearing on their devices.
Privacy and Security Concerns with Privnote
While Privnote does enhance privacy in many ways, users should be aware of some limitations:
- The encrypted contents get sent to and temporarily stored on Privnote’s servers, so they theoretically could be compromised during that brief time. However, Privnote claims to store notes in an encrypted database protected by safeguards.
- There’s no way conclusively to demonstrate that notes are automatically deleted upon being viewed for the first time. You have to trust Privnote’s policies and encryption practices.
- Links could be forwarded or shared with others before the first open, allowing the note to spread more widely than intended.
- Privnote notes could be used for criminal activities since they bypass typical mechanisms of lawful surveillance and evidence gathering. However, the website’s terms of service prohibit illegal usage.
- Some school and workplace networks block access to Privnote and similar “anonymous” sites for security reasons.
But for very sensitive conversations, users may want to combine it with other precautions like VPNs, Tor browser, or end-to-end encrypted messaging apps.