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What is behavior:win32/

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Windows is one of the most popular PC operating systems on the planet, putting it in the crosshairs of threat actors who develop malware to infect PCs. 

While Windows does have protections built-in in the form of Windows Defender, and users can add additional security by installing antivirus or antimalware programs, there are still quite a few malicious files that sometimes don’t get detected.

In this article, we’re talking about “behaviour:win32/” and explaining everything you need to know about the error, so your computer stays safe. 

Also read: How to stop the ‘Fixing C Stage 2’ issue in Windows?

Behavior:Win32/PowEmotet.SB explained

Windows Defender scans and flags pretty much all the files you download from the internet. If it has raised the “Behavior:Win32/PowEmotet.SB” flag for a file, it detected something suspicious about the file.

The message itself is a generic detection for suspicious behaviour and is designed to catch potentially malicious files. Since the detection is behaviour-based, it can also be a false alarm. Regardless, if Windows Defender shows this message, you best proceed with caution and only open the file if you trust the source. 

If you’re seeing this message from a Microsoft Office file, chances are it’s a false positive as this was a problem with Windows Defender definition update 1.353.1847.0. When triggered by Office files, Defender for Endpoint will move to block the file from opening and show either the “Behavior:Win32/PowEmotet.SB” or “Behavior:Win32/PowEmotet.SC” errors. 

This is because Windows has increased the sensitivity for detecting Emotet and similar malware families, making Defender’s generic behaviour detection engine prone to fall for false positives. 

How to fix this?

Thankfully, the error can be resolved by simply ensuring you’re on the latest versions for both Windows and Windows Defender, as the false alarm issue was fixed in subsequent definition updates. 

Check out our detailed guide on how to update Windows here.

Also read: Green checkmarks on Windows explained

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: