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changing permissions to a file automatically prevents other users to see it. With the command chmod your files can be given permissions you want. If you only want yourself to be able to see the file, then you should give a file permissions such as:
chmod 700 filename
This will give you all the rights over the file (reading, writing, and executing the file) and prevento other users to see the contents of the file.
The vi editor has an encryption feature: When in vi, type
and you will be asked for an encryption key. Save the file. Next time you open it you'll be asked for the key, without it the file is unreadable. For more advanced encryption, have a look at the openssl program.
what you want is called 'symmetric encryption' (where the encryption key is the same as the decryption key); an example is Blowfish. Of course, you could also use a public-key (asymmetric) encryption, but it's generally slower, since the keys are larger.