Keep it just between you – How does privnote encrypt your private messages?

Between hackers and government surveillance, our online communications feel increasingly exposed. Tools like Privnote offer solutions to take back control of our privacy. Privnote allows users to exchange self-destructing private notes using end-to-end encryption.

Privacy problem

Most common communication channels today lack adequate privacy protections. For instance, standard SMS text messages are unencrypted. It allows cell providers or hackers to intercept texts easily. Email also often lacks encryption, unless users enable specific security features. Messaging apps provide encryption but still store message data on servers. It leaves them vulnerable to hacking or government data requests. Few digital communication tools were designed from the ground up with privacy as the priority. Privnote aims to change that.

Introducing privnote

Privnote is a free online tool that lets users exchange private notes that self-destruct after reading. To use Privnote, visit their website and type or paste a message into the message box. You include text, images, files, or anything you want to share confidentially. Privnote will generate a unique link to your note. Send this link to a contact however you wish – email, messaging app, etc. When your contact clicks the link, they view the privnote one time. After they open it, or if an hour passes, the privnote permanently deletes itself. It prevents the private note from spreading beyond the intended recipient. Dive into the details at

End-to-end encryption

When you create a privnote, the message is encrypted on your device before being sent to Privnote’s server. This initial encryption uses industry-standard AES-256 symmetric encryption. This scrambles the note so it appears as indecipherable gibberish during transit and storage on Privnote’s server. When the recipient opens the privnote link, their device exchanges encryption keys with Privnote’s server to decrypt the note for viewing. This key exchange happens on the fly encryption keys are not stored anywhere. Once unlocked on the recipient’s end, the privnote displays clearly in plain text. After viewing, the decrypted privnote is immediately deleted forever on both ends. The encrypted cyphertext on Privnote’s server is also deleted. No copies of the keys or messages persist anywhere. Its complete end-to-end encryption prevents anyone but the sender and recipient from ever accessing the plaintext.

Security benefits

Privnote’s end-to-end encryption provides several major security benefits.

  • The encrypted cyphertext protects notes if Privnote’s servers are breached.
  • Without keys, Privnote itself cannot decipher notes. It prevents rogue employees from reading messages.
  • Ephemeral destruction of keys and notes eliminates decrypted copies that could be leaked.
  • Anonymity – no accounts means users cannot be tracked across privnotes.

Together, these safeguards allow Privnote users to exchange confidential information securely. Privnotes disappear forever after reading, leaving no trail.

Onion routing

When you visit the Privnote website, your traffic bounces through a virtual overlay network called Tor. Tor routes traffic randomly through relays run by volunteers around the world. This makes it practically impossible to trace web traffic back to the source. Onion routing ensures access to Privnote remains private and anonymous. Government agencies or hackers spying on web activity cannot tie privnotes to specific users.