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HUMAN Blog

Acquiring clean.io: A Chat with the CEOs

Today we announced the acquisition of clean.io, adding protection against malvertising and increasing signal to the Human Defense Platform. The combined visibility of HUMAN’s 20 trillion interactions a week and clean.io’s 125 billion impressions creates an unstoppable end-to-end defensive machine. We sat down with HUMAN CEO, Tamer Hassan, and clean.io CEO, Geoff Stupay, now VP, Media Strategy of HUMAN, to discuss the acquisition and what it means for customers and the industry. 

Q: Tamer, why was the acquisition of clean.io the right strategic move for HUMAN?

Tamer: We are building the Human Defense Platform 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. We do that with modern defense, where we're lowering the cost of defense and increasing the cost to the attackers. clean.io employs real-time behavioral methodology on page, as opposed to static creative reviews and pre-scanning techniques offline. This allows for the detection and blocking of novel threats with minimal false positives, and is all done via a fast, maintenance free and simple 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’ superior detection and threat intelligence capabilities, the addition of clean.io's technology to the Human Defense Platform will make malvertising incredibly costly for bad actors and enhance protection across the media ecosystem.

Q: Why is anti-malvertising so crucial to protecting the media ecosystem?

Tamer: As we saw with 3ve, malvertising via programmatic advertising is one of the most prolific ways to infect users with malware and create a large-scale botnet, and it is one of the earliest steps in the attack cycle. It impacts both the advertising ecosystem and the security industry. We heard our customers: we needed a solution to combat one of the top three problems in fraud and abuse. With clean.io, we can solve this important problem for our customers. 

Geoff: 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. By combining our technologies and teams, HUMAN will become the first company to provide a full ad fraud solution that includes protection from malvertising in real-time. No one does that right now. It's going to be a game changer for customers, who will have an opportunity to work with one security partner to mitigate all of their ad fraud threats. One trusted partner, one team to handle everything.

Q: Geoff, why was this the best move for clean.io?

Geoff: The media industry is small, so we’ve known HUMAN for a long time, and we’ve been consistently impressed with what Tamer and the team have built. We both have a very similar engineering-forward DNA and a mission focused on disrupting the economics of cybercrime. Over the years, Tamer and I have had discussions here and there, but we really got serious about a year ago. The two of us agreed that this is something this space needs. 

Q:  How does the combined offering of clean.io and HUMAN better serve the market?

Geoff: As I looked at the space, what I really thought was missing was what I like to call “360 degree protection.” When you think about the threat landscape as it exists today, you have companies like clean.io on one side that are protecting what comes through ads from advertisers. Then on the other side, you have companies like HUMAN who are protecting where the advertisers are displaying. So by coming together we will be offering the most comprehensive end-to-end protection solution for advertisers, platforms and publishers. We’re now covering both sides of the equation, and I know it’s going to be really powerful. 

Q: What does this mean for the new HUMAN moving forward? 

Tamer: We expect all the employees of this company to play an important role as a part of our joint mission to fight fraud and disrupt the economics of cybercrime. On top of our shared vision, we share a global mindset. With this acquisition, we will have employees in different cities and countries around the world. 

Not only do we add an amazing team to our core platform, we can solve an important problem for our entire customer base. We see opportunities to continue to expand value for all existing customers. We also see opportunities to expand into the market with large internet platforms that have evolving advertising plays. Lastly, we see an opportunity to expand our customer base of publishers and media owners around protecting them from fraud and abuse of quality issues.

Q: What does this mean for the industry?

Tamer: The reality is that buyers now have to choose, in some cases, between the best single point technology and a technology that is easy to integrate, serves a variety of use cases, and is logistically more accessible. We see a world in security where those two don't have to be mutually exclusive. With our recent market moves, we’re solving a suite of problems for our customers all in one place. Offering comprehensive protection earlier in the attack cycle accelerates HUMAN’s leadership position in the industry. Now the entire ecosystem, from advertisers to publishers, have a one stop shop for protection against ad fraud and malvertising.

Geoff: The history of our industry has shown us that it is ripe for fraud, and this has led to an ever-evolving threat ecosystem. In order to continue to effectively combat new threats, we must continue to grow our lens. This lens isn't simply about the sheer amount of data that is being ingested, but is also dependent on the perspective that is being used to view it. By integrating clean.io's unique threat intelligence with HUMANs existing industry-leading fraud detection, HUMAN will have the most comprehensive approach to combating fraud in the ecosystem.

Learn more about this acquisition here.