Don’t Save Command In History Bash

Shell Programming

As a long-time Linux user and system administrator, I’ve encountered numerous situations where I needed to work on sensitive files or execute commands that should not be stored in the command history for security reasons. One such command that comes in handy in these situations is the “don’t save” command in Bash. Let’s dive deeper into this topic and explore how it can be used to enhance security and privacy when working in a command-line environment.

Understanding the Problem

When working in a Bash shell, every command you execute is typically saved in a history file, which can be accessed using the “history” command. While this feature is incredibly convenient for recalling commands and repeating complex operations, it can also pose a security risk. Imagine executing a command that includes sensitive information such as passwords, API keys, or other confidential data. If these commands are stored in the history file, anyone with access to the system could potentially view them.

The Solution: Using the “Don’t Save” Command

Luckily, Bash provides a simple solution to this problem. By prefixing a command with a space, the command will not be saved in the history file. This allows us to execute sensitive commands without leaving a trace in the shell history.

For example, if I need to run a command that contains a plaintext password, I can simply type a space before the command like this:

my_sensitive_command

By doing so, the “my_sensitive_command” will not be recorded in the history file, providing an extra layer of security.

Best Practices

While the “don’t save” command provides a quick workaround for excluding commands from the history, it’s important to note that this is not a foolproof security measure. If an attacker gains access to the system, there are other ways they could potentially discover the commands that were not saved in the history file.

For stronger protection of sensitive information, consider utilizing environment variables, input/output redirection, or tools specifically designed for securely managing secrets and credentials. Additionally, implementing proper access controls and regular security audits are essential for maintaining a secure command-line environment.

Conclusion

Understanding how to use the “don’t save” command in Bash is a valuable skill for anyone working in a Linux or Unix environment, particularly when dealing with sensitive information. By being mindful of security best practices and leveraging the capabilities of the command line, we can take proactive steps to safeguard our data and maintain a secure computing environment.