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Up to 3,000 tons of CO2 per year an environmental impact of crypto mining protection

In the wake of Earth Day 2023, Kaspersky reveals new data on the environmental impact of blocking crypto miners. Kaspersky solutions prevented more than 200 million attempts at illegal cryptomining, and in the process saved the possible energy equivalent of up to 3,000 tons of Co2 emissions into the atmosphere in 2022.

Crypto mining is an energy-consuming business. For example, the electricity consumption for bitcoin production is equal to the annual energy consumption of Sweden. The growing energy costs of cryptocurrency production contribute to the growing popularity of malicious mining or cryptojacking – threats that infiltrate a user’s device to secretly mine cryptocurrency. The victim might not even be aware that someone is using their device’s processing resources for cryptocurrency mining, as the malware runs in hidden mode.

High power consumed during cryptojacking can not only lead to a decrease in device performance, but also has negative consequences for the environment. In 2019, Kaspersky developed and introduced a special methodology that allows consumers and business to assess the impact of illegal mining on the environment. In the process, we discovered the amount of energy consumed in mining can reach 1.67 GWh – enough comparable annual energy to power a city or charge 15,000 electric cars. According to the new statistics, the trend of growing energy consumption by crypto mining remains.

In 2022, Kaspersky products prevented 202,540,954 attempts by hijackers to use another device for crypto mining. To calculate the minimum amount of energy saved by blocking malicious miners we used the formula from the 2019 study shown below.

According to the calculations, this value is 4.28 ± 2.67 GWh. If converted into carbon dioxide emissions at the global average based on the estimate of the Independent Energy Think Tank Ember, between 700 to 3,000 tons of greenhouse gas (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere emissions were prevented.

  • Wtotal is the minimum amount of energy saved by blocking malicious miners
  • <w> is the minimum average power consumption of a miner
  • N is the number of blocked attempts in 2022
  • t is the time that the web miner would have worked if it had not been blocked by the security Solution (we take the figure of 5.3 minutes, which is an estimate of the average run time of a miner given by the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH), a research centre in Greece)

Among other things, the cost of this amount of energy varies country by country. For instance, if that amount of energy were consumed entirely in the U.S., American users will have to shell out US$1,251,000, while residents of Denmark, where the price of electricity is currently the highest, would have to pay US$4,017,100.

“While the danger of crypto mining to victims’ devices is well known, the negative impact of this threat on the environment is not so obvious. It is important to understand that the more energy mining consumes, the more carbon dioxide and other harmful substances are emitted into the atmosphere. Protecting customers from this cyber threat not only leads to better digital life, but also serves as a preventive measure to increase environmental sustainability, especially where large populations reside”, – said Maria Losyukova, Head of Sustainability at Kaspersky.

To avoid having a personal device used for crypto mining, Kaspersky recommends users:

  • Pay attention to your computer’s performance: if your PC experiences lag and freezes, it can be a sign of malicious activity.
  • Check if your system gets noticeably hotter – this is a significant sign that the processor is being perused, which is very typical for crypto miners.
  • Start using a reliable security solution like Kaspersky Premium that delivers protection from crypto miners.
  • If you are a business, a dedicated corporate cybersecurity product can help. For example, Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business includes web threat protection that ensures web pages visited by employees don’t contain malicious objects.
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