How to encrypt your journal

To learn how to encrypt or password-protect a journal on your Mac using Mémoires journaling software, you can watch a video tutorial or read the step-by-step guide below.

Why encrypt journals?

By encrypting your journal, you can ensure that your personal thoughts and feelings remain confidential and protected from unauthorized access. This is especially important if you keep sensitive information in your journal.

If your computer is stolen or hacked, an encrypted journal will be much more difficult for someone else to access and read.

Encrypting your journal is a simple and effective way to protect your privacy and ensure that your personal information remains secure.

Which encryption method is best?

If you’re looking for a secure way to keep your journal entries private, Mémoires is an excellent option. With strong authenticated AES-256 encryption and memory-hard scrypt key derivation you can rest assured that your personal journal is secure.

There are apps that claim to have password protection, but don't actually encrypt anything. They just store the password in the app's preferences and use it to lock the app's window. This is not encryption, and it's not secure.

Some apps claim to support encryption with AES, but implement it incorrectly. For example, they may use AES in ECB mode, which is insecure. Others use AES in CBC or CTR mode, but use repeated nonce or non-random IV, or don't authenticate the ciphertext with a MAC.

Another important aspect is the key derivation function that turns low-entropy passwords into encryption and authentication keys, which needs to be computationally expensive for security. Some apps use a fast hash function or a few rounds of PBKDF2, which is not memory-hard and can be easily brute-forced.

Mémoires is written by security professionals.

For encrypting journals in Mémoires, secret authentication and encryption keys are derived from your password using the state-of-the-art memory-hard scrypt key derivation function; data is encrypted with AES-256 in CBC mode and authenticated with the fast and secure keyed BLAKE2 hash function (Encrypt-then-MAC).

For security professionals and hobbyists: see File Format for more technical details.

How to turn on encryption

To apply encryption to your journal:

  1. Open Mémoires on your device.
  2. Open a journal in the program.
  3. Locate and click on the lock icon at the bottom of the window.
    Alternatively, click File > Encrypt… to open the encryption dialog.
  4. Once the encryption dialog is open, turn on Encrypt journal.
  5. Choose a password that is at least 8 characters long and enter it into the password field. (see How to choose a strong password below).
  6. Repeat the password to confirm it.
  7. Click the Encrypt button to finalize the encryption process.

The next time you open Mémoires and try to access your encrypted journal, you will be prompted to enter the password you created during the encryption process.

If you haven’t downloaded Mémoires yet, you can do so by clicking on the following button:

Get Mémoires

With Mémoires, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your private thoughts are secure.

How to choose a strong password

Choosing a secure password is crucial to keeping your online accounts and personal information safe from hackers and cyber threats. Here are some tips on how to choose a strong and secure password:

  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using simple or predictable passwords, such as “password” or “123456”. Instead, choose a password that includes a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

  • Make it long. The longer your password, the harder it is to crack. Aim for a password that is at least 16 characters long.

  • Don’t use personal information. Avoid using easily guessable information, such as your name, date of birth, or address, as part of your password.

  • Use a passphrase. Consider using a passphrase instead of a single word. A passphrase is a combination of several words that are easy to remember but difficult to guess. If you decide to use a passphrase, make sure it’s not just a sentence that someone could easily guess or find in a book.

  • Don’t reuse passwords. Don’t use the password for your journal for anything else and vice versa. It’s important to use a unique password for everything. If one of your passwords is compromised, using the same password for other purposes puts them at risk as well.

  • Use a password manager. A password manager is a software that securely stores your passwords and helps you generate strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts. We recommend 1Password.

By following these tips, you can create a strong and secure password that will help keep your personal information safe from cyber threats.

Make sure you don’t forget your password! Since Mémoires uses strong encryption, and it’s not an online account where you can just reset your password, there is no way to recover it or decrypt your journal if you forget the password. Nobody would be able to decrypt it, even us (we don’t have your passwords or your data, and have no way of recovering it). You will need to create a new journal and start over.

Make sure your Mac is secure

In addition to encrypting your journal, for best protection it’s a good idea to encrypt your Mac’s hard drive. By encrypting your hard drive, you can ensure that even if your computer is stolen or lost, your personal files and information remain secure.

macOS comes with a built-in encryption tool called FileVault.

To encrypt your Mac’s hard drive, follow these steps:

On macOS 13 Ventura and later:

  1. Click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Settings…
  2. Click on Privacy & Security in the side bar.
  3. Scroll down until you see FileVault.
  4. Make sure it’s turned on. If it’s not, click Turn On and the onscreen instructions to complete the setup process.

On earlier versions of macOS:

  1. Click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Preferences…
  2. Click on Security & Privacy.
  3. Click on the FileVault tab.
  4. Click the lock icon in the bottom left corner of the window and enter your administrator password.
  5. Click Turn On FileVault.
  6. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the setup process.

Once your hard drive is encrypted, you will need to enter your password every time you start up your computer. This ensures that your data remains protected even if your Mac falls into the wrong hands.

Learn more about Mémoires, our secure journaling app for Mac »

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