Spam increases global carbon footprint

The annual energy used to transmit, process and filter spam totals 33 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), according to security software company McAfee....

The annual energy used to transmit, process and filter spam totals 33 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), according to security software company McAfee.

This is equivalent to the electricity used in 2.4 million homes, and represents the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as 3.1 million cars using two billion gallons of petrol.

Jeff Green, senior vice-president of product development and McAfee Avert Labs, said, "Spam has an immense financial, personal and environmental impact on businesses and individuals. Stopping spam at its source, as well investing in filtering technology, will save time and money, and will pay dividends to the planet by reducing carbon emissions as well."

The Carbon Footprint of Spam study from McAfee looked at global energy expended to create, store, view and filter spam across 11 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Mexico, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom. The study calculated the average greenhousee gas emission associated with a single spam message at 0.3 grams of CO2. McAfee said this was equivalent to driving three feet; but when multiplied by the yearly volume of spam, it is equivalent to driving around the earth 1.6 million times.

The study also found that nearly 80% of the energy used by spam comes from end-users deleting spam and searching for legitimate e-mail (false positives). McAfee, which produces its own spam filtering technology said that spam filtering would save 135TWh of electricity per year, which is equivalent to taking 13 million cars off the road.



Enjoy the benefits of CW+ membership, learn more and join.

Read more on Antivirus, firewall and IDS products

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.




  • Passive Python Network Mapping

    In this excerpt from chapter two of Passive Python Network Mapping, author Chet Hosmer discusses securing your devices against ...

  • Protecting Patient Information

    In this excerpt from chapter two of Protecting Patient Information, author Paul Cerrato discusses the consequences of data ...

  • Mobile Security and Privacy

    In this excerpt from chapter 11 of Mobile Security and Privacy, authors Raymond Choo and Man Ho Au discuss privacy and anonymity ...