Temporary file definition
Temporary files in cybersecurity are made for a specific temporary purpose or a short time in general. Often, they have a single purpose or a specific task. For example, someone can store temporary and intermediate data and various cache information or generate them while performing certain operations. They are expected to be deleted or removed permanently when their job is done. On the flip side, temporary files can pose security risks if not managed cautiously, as they might contain sensitive data and quickly can become targets for unauthorized access or targets of exploitation.
See also: file management system
Common temporary files applications in cybersecurity:
- Malware analysis: Cybersecurity analysts can gain insights from temporary file metadata and samples. Fraudsters use temporary files for disguising malicious codes, configuration data, payloads, or log information.
- Forensic investigations: Temporary file analysis favors digital forensic investigations because temporary files are valuable sources of evidence, meaning these files can uncover information about attackers’ activities, such as exfiltrated data types or downloaded files.
- Exploitation and evasion: Some fraudsters use temporary files for their attack strategies, like hiding malicious code to hide their activities from various detection tools. It is crucial to monitor suspicious temporary files for potential security threat identification.