Following hack, Evernote speeds move to two-factor authentication

The company is one of many trying to shore up its systems in the face of aggressive hackers

Evernote is speeding up its plans to offer two-factor authentication to users following a recent data breach that exposed user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords.

The company, which makes note-taking software, disclosed on its blog on Saturday that an attacker accessed its internal network, which forced it to reset 50 million user passwords. Payment information was not accessed, Evernote said.

The company had planned to roll out two-factor authentication to users eventually but is now accelerating those plans, according to an Evernote spokeswoman.

Two-factor authentication usually requires a user to enter a time-sensitive code in addition to their user name and password. The code can be sent by SMS, or a standalone application such as Google Authenticator can generate a code.

Two-factor authentication poses a somewhat higher barrier for hackers, who not only need to capture a person's static login details but also the code.

It is not impossible to get the code, however, and several malicious software programs for mobile devices have been able to snatch it. If that interception is successful, the hacker can then quickly enter the details and log in to a person's account.

Other security features are also in the works. Evernote said it will offer "significant upgrades to the optional client-side encryption features later this year, including updated algorithms to take advantage of the additional flexibility allowed under changes to the US export control laws, as well as other user-selectable features."

Evernote is just one of many companies, including Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, that have disclosed hacking incidents in recent weeks,.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

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