Privacy and Security

jrnl is designed with privacy and security in mind, but there are some limitations to be aware of.

Password strength

jrnl doesn't enforce password strength requirements. Short or commonly-used passwords can easily be circumvented by someone with basic security skills and access to your encrypted jrnl file.

Shell history

Since you can enter entries from the command line, any tool that logs command line actions is a potential security risk. See below for how to deal with this problem in various shells.


You can disable history logging for jrnl in your .bashrc:



Disable history logging by adding this to your zshrc:

alias jrnl=" jrnl"


Add this abbreviation to your fish configuration to run jrnl with a space before it, which prevents fish from logging it:

abbr --add jrnl " jrnl"

To delete existing jrnl commands from fish’s history, run history delete --prefix 'jrnl '.

Windows Command Prompt

Windows doesn't log history to disk, but it does keep it in your command prompt session. Close the command prompt or press Alt+F7 to clear its history after journaling.

Files in transit from editor to jrnl

When creating or editing an entry, jrnl uses a plain text temporary file on disk to give your editor access to it. jrnl deletes the temporary file when it saves the entry back to your journal.

If you save an entry but haven't closed your editor yet, and your computer shuts off or the jrnl process is killed, the entry remains on your disk as a temporary file. You can mitigate this issue by only saving with your editor right before closing it.

Plausible deniability

You may be able to hide the contents of your journal behind a layer of encryption, but if someone has access to your configuration file, then they can figure out that you have a journal, where that journal file is, and when you last edited it. With a sufficient power imbalance, someone may be able to force you to unencrypt it through non-technical means.

Notice any other risks?

Please let the maintainers know by filing an issue on GitHub.