Goldman Sachs leads acquisition of bot mitigation company White Ops

White Ops, a fraud detection platform that protects enterprises and online platforms from automated attacks, has announced that it has been acquired by Goldman Sachs’ merchant banking division, in partnership with ClearSky Security and NightDragon. This news follows an investment the trio made into White Ops back in May.

Founded in 2012, New York-based White Ops uses threat intelligence and machine learning to detect malicious bots that impersonate human behavior. Bots have become increasingly sophisticated through the years, adapting and shape-shifting to be less machine-like and more human. This can be used for numerous nefarious ends, including so-called “click fraud” which is when bad actors automate taps on “pay-per-click” (PPC) ads to increase site revenue, for example. Back in 2017, White Ops, alongside other tech companies such as Google, was involved in what was thought to be one of the FBI’s biggest ever ad fraud investigations.

Elsewhere, bots are also often used as part of “imitation attacks,” which attempt to access people’s accounts through credential stuffing.

To combat automated bot-based attacks at scale, using automation is the only meaningful recourse — fighting fire with fire, in other words. And such tools are in high demand, with the broader online fraud prevention market currently pegged as a $21 billion industry, a figure that is predicted to almost double within five years. Numerous other players operate in this space, including Shape Security which reached a $1 billion valuation before it was acquired this year by application delivery networking (ADN) giant F5.

White Ops had previously raised $31 million, according to Crunchbase data, and the company said it had grown its customer base by 40% in the past year. With Goldman Sachs as one of its principle owners, White Ops is in a strong position to expand “into new vertical markets” across the enterprise.

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