Encrypting and decrypting
If you don't choose to encrypt your file when you run
jrnl for the first time, you can encrypt
your existing journal file or change its password using
If it is already encrypted, you will first be asked for the current password. You can then enter a new password and your plain journal will replaced by the encrypted file. Conversely,
will replace your encrypted journal file by a Journal in plain text. You
can also specify a filename, ie.
jrnl --decrypt plain_text_copy.txt,
to leave your original file untouched.
Storing passwords in your keychain
Whenever you encrypt your journal, you are asked whether you want to store the encryption password in your keychain. If you do this, you won't have to enter your password every time you want to write or read your journal.
If you don't initially store the password in the keychain but decide to
do so at a later point -- or maybe want to store it on one computer but
not on another -- you can simply run
jrnl --encrypt on an encrypted
journal and use the same password again.
A note on security
While jrnl follows best practises, true security is an illusion.
Specifically, jrnl will leave traces in your memory and your shell
history -- it's meant to keep journals secure in transit, for example
when storing it on an
services such as Dropbox. If you're concerned about security, disable
history logging for journal in your
If you are using zsh instead of bash, you can get the same behaviour
adding this to your
setopt HIST_IGNORE_SPACE alias jrnl=" jrnl"
Should you ever want to decrypt your journal manually, you can do so with any program that supports the AES algorithm in CBC. The key used for encryption is the SHA-256-hash of your password, the IV (initialisation vector) is stored in the first 16 bytes of the encrypted file. The plain text is encoded in UTF-8 and padded according to PKCS#7 before being encrypted. Here's a Python script that you can use to decrypt your journal
#!/usr/bin/env python3 import argparse from Crypto.Cipher import AES import getpass import hashlib import sys parser = argparse.ArgumentParser() parser.add_argument("filepath", help="journal file to decrypt") args = parser.parse_args() pwd = getpass.getpass() key = hashlib.sha256(pwd.encode('utf-8')).digest() with open(args.filepath, 'rb') as f: ciphertext = f.read() crypto = AES.new(key, AES.MODE_CBC, ciphertext[:16]) plain = crypto.decrypt(ciphertext[16:]) plain = plain.strip(plain[-1:]) plain = plain.decode("utf-8") print(plain)