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