What are the practices and tools to safely store your private diaries?

Whether you’ve been journaling for years or just started a diary, privacy is likely an important concern. Your thoughts, experiences, and reflections feel private. You want to ensure your diary stays out of the wrong hands.

Determine your threat model

Think through what or who poses the biggest threat to your diary’s privacy. Is it nosy family members and roommates? Burglars and hackers? Understanding the likely “attackers” guides your security strategy.

For example, if you’re mostly concerned about snooping by those with physical access to your home, a simple locked box suffice. But if you worry about remote hacking, encryption is called for. Pinpointing privacy threats lets you target security to where you need it most.

Use physical barriers

A basic way to secure a physical paper diary is by placing barriers around it.

  • Locked boxes or cabinets: Store your journal inside furniture that locks, ideally to which only you have the key.
  • Hidden compartments: Hide your diary inside a hollowed-out book or a stash disguised as another object.
  • Portable safes: Compact, portable safes that require a key or combination to open and secure a journal at home or on the go.
  • Fingerprint lock boxes: High-end lock boxes provide biometric fingerprint access control, limiting access to only your unique fingerprint.

When using any physical security method, it’s smart to also utilize other safeguards like encryption in case barriers somehow get circumvented.

Encrypt your journal

What is a safenote? Encrypting your journal essentially scrambles the contents so only those with a secret key or password decipher and read entries. It provides protection even if your diary ends up in the wrong hands.

  • Journaling apps with encryption: Many diary apps like Jour, Luna, or Day One offer optional encryption features to password-protect digital entries.
  • Encrypted cloud storage: Upload scanned or digital copies of your journal to encrypted cloud services like iCloud or Sync to securely store them long-term.
  • Encryption software: Utilize third-party encryption tools like VeraCrypt to encrypt folders or drives containing your journal files.

Properly securing keys and remembering passwords are essential steps when incorporating encryption to avoid unintentionally locking yourself out of your diary.

Practice good operational security

How you physically handle your diary also influences its privacy.

  • Never leave your diary unattended in public places where it could be quickly swiped. Secure it on your person or property at all times.
  • If digitizing entries by scanning or typing, cautiously store resulting files on devices and adopt good cybersecurity habits like complex passwords and limited sharing.
  • When discarding old journals, thoroughly shred them to prevent legible diary pages from ending in the trash.
  • Be careful when showing or mentioning your journal to others. Don’t reveal security measures or where you store the diary.

Staying disciplined around access, transport, digitization, disposal, and discussion of your journal significantly reduces misplacement and exposure risks.

Incorporate multiple layers of protection

A defense-in-depth approach utilizing multiple security layers provides robust diary protection.

  • Use a fingerprint-access lockbox to store your diary at home, securing the physical journal itself.
  • Digitally encrypt your entries using a journaling app’s password protection and encryption feature for added security if files somehow get accessed.
  • Upload encrypted app backups to encrypted cloud storage in case your local copies get compromised.

With complementary security tools and practices covering all bases, you feel at ease letting your private thoughts flow onto the page, knowing your diary remains truly private.


Clarissa Cooke

Clarissa Cooke