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How Evernote became ransomware

Posted on: October 4, 2016

I was writing in Evernote recently when I copied information from email into a note. I had done this many times before, but this time I was copying into the web version of Evernote because the free version limited the app to two devices.

For reasons unknown to me, the formatted text removed everything in my notes except for the first two lines. Evernote synced this across all my devices and I lost several weeks of writing.

A while ago I could have retrieved my notes on some other device. I could have also visited the history of the note and rolled back to an earlier state.

But not in the current version of Evernote. I had to pay to access my notes offline or to go back in note time.

It was pay or redo a lot of work. I could not possibly remember everything I wrote — that is why I took notes — so I resorted to paying for a year’s premium subscription.

I could not even pay a bit less for the mid-tier plan (the plus plan) because it did not offer the note history tool.

I felt like victim of ransomware — malware that prevents you from accessing your files or data until you pay up for a key to unlock it.

The premium plan was USD57.98 a year. Fortunately, I remembered an email message in June offering a 50% discount. The deadline had elapsed, but I found that the offer was still valid. So while I paid less, I still paid up.

It was a painful reminder to use more reliable tools. I will be moving some active writing elsewhere and will probably use Evernote for archiving in future.

Evernote’s logo is an elephant because the pachyderms never forget. I am not forgetting this warning and lesson.

2 Responses to "How Evernote became ransomware"

haiz…. I’m a paid member so I’ve had no difference in experience… but I definitely agree that the feeling of being ransomed has left a sour taste in many a potential customer’s mouth…


IMO Evernote is making a series of bad decisions. They aren’t all big.

The small ones include auto-starting on boot up in MacOS (have to manually deactivate this) and removing the edit option to simplify text in mobile (now there’s only plain text). The small things add up like lots of mossie bites. From Evernote to Evernag.


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