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Why Text Files Are Unsafe for File Upload
7/11/2023 - Brian O'Neill

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What are TXT Files?

TXT files, verbally referred to as “Text” files, are universally interoperable files capable of storing any information represented in plain text format. This means they’re equipped to carry a very wide range of content – including anything from paragraphs of prose to arrays of data and lines of code – between just about any application or operating system.

How are TXT Files Typically Used?

The versatility of TXT files leads to their use in a wide range of practical scenarios. For example, they’re just as easily leveraged for jotting down notes during a team meeting as they are for storing lines of application source code (many of the configuration settings for our various software applications are stored in TXT format). On top of that, TXT files are frequently used for sharing large volumes of text-format data (JSON, XML, etc.) across networks due to their compact file size.

Why Should I Avoid Text File Uploads?

While TXT files are useful in some practical internal scenarios, the problem with uploading them to an accessible file storage instance is that they lack a formal file structure. First and foremost, this makes them impractical for sharing with consumers and business users alike (structured formats like PDF, DOCX, XLSX are designed to make plaint text information more presentable and usable), and, crucially, it makes their contents extremely difficult to verify beyond the file extension level. Any text-based program or script is technically a valid TXT file, which makes TXT file uploads viable attack vectors capable of carrying malicious code into sensitive storage locations.

Rather than assume unnecessary risk by uploading raw TXT files to storage, you can take advantage of their interoperability instead by using their contents in structured multimedia file formats (like PDF, for example). Once stored in a verifiable format like PDF, potentially threatening content can be quickly detected and flagged with content verification security policies.

How can the Cloudmersive Advanced Virus Scanning API Protect my File Uploads?

Once TXT file contents are stored in a structured file format like PDF, the Cloudmersive Advanced Virus Scanning API can then dig into the file encoding and return a CleanResult: True or CleanResult: False response. In conjunction with this measure, file restrictions policies can be configured to categorically block all incoming TXT files. All told, this will ensure your original TXT file contents can enter storage ONLY after undergoing a standard content verification check.

For more information on how the Cloudmersive Advanced Virus Scanning API can protect your file storage instances, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our sales team.

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