Spam-Sucking Energy Be Gone

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The Official Blog of Microsoft's
Environmental Sustainability Team

Spam-Sucking Energy Be Gone

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Spam not only wastes your time, it wastes a huge amount of the world’s energy in the transmission, processing and filtering of unwanted email. In a study called the “The Carbon Footprint of Spam” McAfee estimates it takes a mind-blowing 33 billion kilowatt hours, that’s 33 terawatt hours (TWh) of the global energy supply every year which they estimate is enough power to power 2.4 million homes in the the United States, or, the same GHG emissions as 3.1 million passenger cars using two billion United States gallons of gasoline.

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So when Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), working with industry partners, recently brought down one of the world’s largest spamming botnets, Rustock, worldwide spam output dropped dramatically; by some estimates, spam fell by as much as a third. Rustock, a network of compromised computers controlled by hackers, is thought to have infected more than a million machines and was capable of sending out 30 billion spam emails per day. The takedown was part of Project MARS (Microsoft Active Response for Security), a joint effort between DCU, the Microsoft Malware Protection Center and Microsoft Trustworthy Computing. Through Project MARS, Microsoft and its partners are creatively and aggressively disrupting botnets and helping victims get rid of malware to regain control of their infected computers. The effort included legal and technical measures to undo the connection between the command and control structure of the botnet and the malware-infected computers.

Read more about the shut down in the Wall Street Journal and if you think you might have been botted, visit support.microsoft.com/botnets.

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