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What Does it Mean When Malwarebytes Quarantined Something?

Dave Miller with Online Cloud Security

Dave Miller – Tech Enthusiast & Security Expert – June 28th, 2022

_What Does it Mean When Malwarebytes Quarantined Something

Quarantine is one of the secure places in your antivirus to keep potentially hazardous items, but many people wonder what it means when Malwarebytes quarantined something. When it comes to how an antivirus program works, quarantine is one part of the tale. It can be surprising to learn that your antivirus application does not eliminate infections from your computer; instead, it puts everything in quarantine. Average consumers may be perplexed or concerned that a virus is still present on their computer and has the potential to harm their device. However, the truth is somewhat different.

Continue reading the article to learn all you need about Malwarebytes, including for Malwarebytes what does quarantine mean and what you should do.

What Does it Mean When Malwarebytes Quarantined Files?

Quarantine – The Antivirus

According to Oxford Languages, quarantine is a state, duration, or isolation location where humans or animals get placed. These are either who have traveled from another country or who have got subjected to contagious or infectious illness 

While Merriam-Webster provides multiple definitions, including a period of 40 days somewhat related to ships. It was a condition to enforce isolation for ships and individuals upon entering the city to avoid the spread of the Black Death and to determine if the virus had developed or not.

Whenever it comes to antivirus, this word is no different. This word initially appeared in the antivirus industry in the early 1990s, when the antivirus Quarantine was released, which automatically separated contaminated data on a computer hard drive. It got coded to isolate files, rendering them incapable of corrupting their host system. This solution won several prizes, including the Best of Year Security Award.

Note: Quarantine went out of business in 1994 after competing products received higher funding.

This quarantine approach gets now used by today’s powerful antivirus and antimalware software to isolate harmful files on your computer.

Malwarebytes – How it Works

Malwarebytes is an antimalware multiplatform antivirus by Malwarebytes Corporation. Malwarebytes has been verified as a reliable tool for complex malware protection threats, providing lightweight, effortless software security. Since its introduction, Malwarebytes has been offered both in a free and a premium edition. Malwarebytes is simple to set up and use. You will get the opportunity to try Malwarebytes Premium for 14 days. It will only require you to provide an email address and nothing related to credit card information.

The user may run the free version manually whenever they want; however, the premium version can execute scheduled scans. Both versions use a complex algorithm that has got developed over time. We don’t know how they do it, but we do know how it works.

Malwarebytes uses the following strategies to scan harmful files in batch mode.

Signature Based Detection

It makes use of a database of malware definitions. These definitions explain what malware is and how to spot it. It will identify the file as potentially malicious if it meets the definition.

Heuristics Analysis

Malwarebytes uses heuristics analysis to identify malware based on its behaviors and patterns. It helps search for certain dangerous behaviors in possibly new and undetected forms compared to the existing database.

Note: Malwarebytes offers extra capabilities such as an online security browser plugin and a Privacy VPN in addition to smart scanning techniques for added protection.


The third detection method is by operating exe files in a sandbox, which would be a virtual environment on a computer. The software gets terminated if it exhibits malicious activity. Otherwise, it is permitted to run outside of the sandbox.

Malwarebytes doesn’t merely detect malware and leave. Instead, When malware gets discovered on a computer, it must get removed. That is where when Malwarebytes quarantined something instead of eradicating it.

Malwarebytes - What Does Quarantine Mean?

Now, you understand quarantine, and Malwarebytes will do it for you. But for Malwarebytes, what does quarantine mean?

Malwarebytes quarantines a malicious file, preventing it from inflicting any harm. This function encrypts all quarantined files, making it impossible for them to be launched or identified by all other antivirus software. As a result, it’s the safest place in your antivirus, and all objects deleted by Real-Time Protection, periodic scans, or manually scanned may get found on the Quarantined tab in the detection history

You may determine when quarantined things should get automatically destroyed under Malwarebytes’ advanced options. Threats that have got quarantined can also be permanently erased or returned to their original state. But the question is, why is Malwarebytes not removing the harmful files without your permission and without you waiting?

Note: Malwarebytes for Mac removes old flagged flies in quarantine after 90 days by default.

The quarantine destination is a pre-defined folder on your Mac, Windows, or Linux devices.

  • For Windows: C:\ProgramData\Malwarebytes\MBAMService\Quarantine.

  • For Mac: /Library/Application Support/Malwarebytes/NCEP/Quarantine/

  • For Linux: /var/lib/mblinux/quarantine.

Simply open your file explorer and put the address listed above into the address box.

When Malwarebytes Quarantined Something, Why Isn't It Automatically Removed?

There are three main reasons why dangerous files are not addressed instantly after when Malwarebytes quarantined something

False Detection

False positives are alerts for files or behaviors tagged as malicious when no evil intent is present. Heuristic analysis and AI machine learning detection can occasionally produce false positives or applications that are detected as malware but are safe.

Fact: According to AV testing, the industry average for false identification is 2. Malwarebyte’s false detections of standard software as malware during a system scan with 1,556,244 samples used was 4 in April.

So, even if the files get quarantined within Malwarebytes, you will have the opportunity to restore them if you believe they are authentic. Beware that the danger of restoring data from quarantine is considerable. This action demands sophisticated user expertise and is only appropriate in certain circumstances. If you’re unsure if a file has got misdiagnosed, let it be in quarantine or delete it permanently. Never try to restore malicious or corrupted software since it will corrupt your OS and cause damage.

Note: If you believe Malwarebytes is creating a false positive, you may post it on the Malwarebytes Forum for their analysts to investigate further.

Possibility of File Recovery

Apart from just waiting for permission to remove the files, if an antivirus program quarantines a file. It also makes it possible to recover the file in the future from the virus that has made it corrupt. However, probably, the file is not recoverable at this time. It only happens if the file is unique and valuable.

The user may be able to retrieve all of the elements that are still recoverable from it. As a result, Malwarebytes always place it in quarantine rather than destroy it immediately.

Research the Virus Signature

Like any other protection provider, Malwarebytes is always willing to investigate the malware. So, if a virus attacks the same file version in various ways, the file may be recoverable in the future. In most cases, antivirus software developers generate and release new viral signatures. If you have an antivirus program installed, it may be collecting data for research reasons.

You Can Read Malwarebyte’s Privacy Policy Here >>

Note: In general free softwares are not always accessible. If it’s free, you’re the product, and some people aren’t astonished that free antivirus software collects data. Antivirus companies have got accused of selling user data in the past.

Adding Files Exclusion

There you’re probably aware that Malwarebytes can flag objects that aren’t malicious. And you’d want to retain them on your device rather than repeatedly restoring them from the quarantine list.

You can add all those items to your allow List to prevent Malwarebytes from quarantining a thing you know and trust. You may specify exclusions for websites and applications that need access to the internet in addition to only permitting a file. An MD5 hash, which lets Malwarebytes identify the program that Exploit Protection stopped, may also be used to add exclusions for previously identified exploits.

Bonus Tip: VirusTotal is a free service that scans objects using over 70 antivirus analyzers and Link blocking services. If you have any files in your antivirus software’s quarantine, you can check them. Using the SHA256 hash of the file, you may inspect discovered items and cross-check the information to see if the file is valid with other advanced threat databases on VirusTotal.

What Does It Mean When Malwarebytes Quarantines a File? - Bottom Line

Quarantining a virus resembles the process followed by law enforcement agencies when they arrest suspected offenders for investigation and trial rather than just incarcerating them without additional information. Malwarebytes is a well-known antimalware program, as independent testing has demonstrated. Although Malwarebytes Premium includes real-time malware protection, you may not need it if you only use the free version as a backup to your comprehensive antivirus solution.

Quarantining files in Malwarebytes is entirely automated. You will have the chance to experiment with the default settings for dealing with identified items. Take precautions before removing or restoring the file from the quarantine tab by checking it in many locations, mainly through a Google search.

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Dave Miller with Online Cloud Security

Dave Miller

IT Consultant at Online Cloud Security

Dave Miller is an IT Consultant for Online Cloud Security and has over 7 years of experience in the Information Technology space. He also specializes in repairing laptops & computers. In his spare time, he loves to talk about new technologies and hosts monthly IT and Cyber Security meetings in the Houston area.

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Online Cloud Security is here to recommend you the most secure devices, from laptops to smartphones, we only want to provide you with products that we have tested and used ourselves for online security. Every product that we recommend is heavily inspected and tested for security against hackers, viruses, malware, and any other intruders that may want to steal your information. 

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Online Cloud Security Logo (500x500px)

About Online Cloud Security

Online Cloud Security is here to recommend you the most secure devices, from laptops to smartphones, we only want to provide you with products that we have tested and used ourselves for online security. Every product that we recommend is heavily inspected and tested for security against hackers, viruses, malware, and any other intruders that may want to steal your information. 

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