Finding a virus or a malware in your computer is never a pleasant experience. It is a good thing that antivirus and anti-malware applications can deal with machine infections without much effort. Most security applications, such as MalwareFox, can intercept malicious files without you noticing anything.
However, it might be surprising to most people that antivirus programs do not delete the malicious files right away. These files are put in quarantine until you decide what to do with it. Or the security program will delete it up to a certain amount of time in quarantine.
So, why quarantine instead of deleting?
What is Quarantine?
When a security program quarantines a questionable file, a virus, or a malicious software, it moves the said files to a safe location. The security program manages the location itself where it neutralizes all functions and executable commands of the file.
Essentially, the file still exists. The security program forcibly stops its functions. Moreover, it also removes all the file’s traces from its original location.
Think of quarantining a sick person. They are normally in a different location away from the rest of the population to control the infection.
Understanding the reason behind the quarantine method needs a little bit of insight as to how a virus operates.
When a virus infiltrates a computer, it does not exist in isolation. Note the term infected files which are often used in computer security. A virus or malicious applications often attach themselves to files or programs on your computer. Some infections may even attach themselves to system files. You need to delete the file to get rid of the virus.
Security programs typically focus on neutralizing and potentially removing the questionable files. More often than not, it does not recognize how important some files are.
What if it deletes an essential system file? What if it deletes an important file that you regularly use?
Another reason files are put into quarantine are false alarms. Some legitimate and safe files may carry a signature similar to a virus or a malware. Deleting these files may render its parent program to stop working properly. Moreover, some security programs may identify “threats” in another security program. That is why you should not install two antivirus applications on your computer.
Quarantine vs Deleting
So, what do you do with identified infected files? Do you quarantine? Or do you delete?
The answer is much more complicated. But, both security functions are essential. Initially, you can leave the quarantine files as you find out more about it. Most security programs can identify where the infected files came from. You can investigate more about it especially if you are unsure how to proceed.
Most security programs keep infected files under quarantine for a certain period of time. Then, it will delete the said infected files. You can leave the infected files in quarantine for that period of time. Observe the programs that you use if they are working properly.
Additionally, most modern viruses make their own files. Security programs can easily identify and neutralize these infections. At this point, you can easily delete the infections during security scans.
It is easy to remedy false alarms by teaching the security programs to always ignore certain files from legitimate applications. This will significantly reduce false alarm reports in the future.
It is important to keep your security program updated to reduce false alarms, easily identify threats, and quarantine questionable files. Virus and malware in quarantine are perfectly harmless. They cannot run and well-hidden. Only delete if you are sure that the files are infected and all applications in your system are running without any issues.