HUMAN acquires clean.io to safeguard the advertising ecosystem from cybercrime
By joining forces, HUMAN and clean.io have unlocked real-time anti-malvertising to stop fraud at the source. By adding clean.io’s products to the Human Defense Platform, HUMAN is furthering its vision to safeguard the advertising ecosystem from a full range of fraud and abuse by disrupting the economics of cybercrime and ensuring the industry’s $500 billion annual ad spend reaches real humans rather than funding criminal schemes.
The acquisition is the third strategic market move HUMAN has made this year, beginning with the announcement of a $100 million growth funding round led by WestCap and NightDragon followed by the merger with PerimeterX, which included a $100 million debt facility from Blackstone Credit. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
When the programmatic advertising ecosystem is used by cybercriminals to deliver malware to end-users via ads, it is known as malvertising. While malvertising increases the risk of compromise by exposing users to malware, it also reflects poorly on the brands and platforms delivering the ads, creating a brand reputation problem.
“The vision of the Human Defense Platform is to safeguard organizations from a full range of fraud and abuse by disrupting the economics of cybercrime. As we saw with 3ve, delivering malware via programmatic advertising is one of the most prolific ways to create a large-scale botnet, and it is one of the earliest steps in the attack cycle,” said HUMAN Co-founder and CEO Tamer Hassan.
“By teaming up with clean.io, HUMAN is gaining significant talent with deep domain expertise along with increased signal across the internet, enhancing our collective protection capabilities for our customers across the entire digital ecosystem.”, Hassan continued.
clean.io employs real-time behavioral protections on page, as opposed to static creative reviews and pre-scanning techniques offline. This methodology allows for the detection and blocking of novel threats, and is all done via a simple and maintenance free integration.
clean.io powers protection for more than 125 billion impressions monthly across millions of websites and mobile applications globally. Combined with HUMAN’s programmatic footprint and visibility of more than 20 trillion digital interactions per week and the two companies’ detection and threat intelligence capabilities, the addition of clean.io’s technology to the HUMAN Defense Platform will make malvertising costly for bad actors and enhance protection across the media ecosystem.
“HUMAN and clean.io have long been strategic partners to help combat two of the most important problems we face in programmatic advertising: malvertising and fraud. This type of consolidation in the ecosystem is welcome news and brings with it a true and holistic, 360-degree approach to fighting cybercrime,” said Ron Lissack, SVP, Chief Architect | Tech Leadership at Xandr.
Sr. Director of Product Management at Xandr Sanmati Ananthamurthy also added, “The combined threat lens and mitigation that both HUMAN and clean.io provide, alongside our proprietary tools and processes, only further solidifies where the industry needs to be advancing towards.”
“There has never been a stronger need for collective protection against cybercriminals. Since our founding in 2017, clean.io’s mission has been to put an end to malicious code and to protect the customer experience, revenue and brand from the latest threats,” said clean.io Co-founder and CEO Geoff Stupay, who will serve as Vice President of Media Strategy for HUMAN.
“To that end, we are thrilled to be joining forces with HUMAN. Our combined lens, telemetry and mitigation across the ecosystem will deliver the most effective and comprehensive protection for our combined customers.”, Stupay continued.
HUMAN leverages modern defense to disrupt the economics of cybercrime by increasing the cost to cybercriminals while simultaneously reducing the cost of collective defense. Examples include taking down Scylla — an attack targeting a number of advertising SDKs within apps available via both Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
HUMAN disrupted the PARETO operation — the CTV botnet — in cooperation with Roku and Google. 3ve was brought down together with the FBI, Google, Facebook and many others in the industry. The takedown of Methbot recently culminated in the sentencing of the self-proclaimed ‘King of Fraud’ to 10 years in prison.
“With the clean.io acquisition, the Satori team will gain invaluable talent and threat intelligence. This will help us defend our customers from future attacks and support disruption efforts like 3ve, Methbot, PARETO, and most recently, Scylla,” said HUMAN Vice President of Satori Threat Intelligence and Research Gavin Reid.
“We’re looking forward to expanding our investigative power and strengthening our takedown mechanisms to continue safeguarding all of our clients and the industry as a whole.”, Reid continued.
As a cybersecurity company looking to achieve end-to-end protection across the supply chain, HUMAN is making strategic acquisitions to provide protection against automated threats for customers.
The acquisition also accelerates HUMAN’s leadership position, offering the protection earlier in the attack cycle against all forms of digital attacks including bots, fraud, account abuse and now, malvertising.