Bill Gates Fights Spam and Gives 13 TWh of Energy Back to the World

by , 03/21/11
filed under: Green Products, Innovation

big pharma, BigPharma, botnet, email, fireeye, malware, microsoft, microsoft DCU, microsoft digital crimes unit, MicrosoftDcu, MicrosoftDigitalCrimesUnit, pfizer, pharmaceuticals, rustock, spam, spamming, web

Bill Gates is one of the richest men in the world and is known for his social philanthropy — however his latest victory bears a welcome boon for energy and the environment. Working with federal law enforcement agencies, the Digital Crime Unit of Microsoft has smashed the world’s largest spamming network – Rustock. As a result, the software giant is ‘giving back’ 13 terawatt hours of electricity that would previously been used by the botnet to ask you if you’d like various parts of body enlarged/shrunk.

According to, at its peak the Rustock botnet was using 2 million ‘zombie computers’ to send out 30 billion spam emails per day. By taking it down, Microsoft has cut the global spam output by just under 40%.

By using all those computers and sending all those emails, Rustock was wasting a huge amount of energy. If you consider that every year, transmitting, processing and filtering spam takes approximately 33 billion kilowatt hours, you can see the impact that Rustock was having on the environment as well as your inbox. According to McAfee in their report “The Carbon Footprint of Spam”, 33 terawatt hours is enough to “power 2.4 million homes”.

Not bad, I think you’ll agree, for a computer company.

+ Microsoft

Via and Cleantechnica

Lead image © batmoo

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  1. Rigo April 3, 2011 at 1:13 am

    While I agree with your assertion that the computers would be on, there is also the small amount of energy needed for the HD to read and write. That’s on the PC, the servers, the isp. Plus increase on wear and tear. It may not be 13twh, but it all adds up.

  2. caeman March 22, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Dubious math. Those computers would have been on and used by the user already, so they are still using energy, Those millions of infected are still on right now, still using that 13TWh of electricity. The act of transmitting network packets of super tiny compared to the energy needed to keep a monitor on. And those computers are constantly sending network packets, even when you don’t think they are.

    This is all a PR stunt by Gates. It is grand standing at best, and disingenuous at worst. And Inhatitat should be ashamed of themselves for falling prey to such dubious numbers.

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