Goldman Sachs acquires cybersecurity firm White Ops

By Robert Scammell

Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division, the private equity arm of the investment bank, has acquired cybersecurity and anti-fraud company White Ops in partnership with investment firms ClearSky Security and NightDragon.

The three parties acquired White Ops from previous investors Paladin Capital Group, Grotech Ventures and other shareholders.

The companies did not disclose the transaction value or terms.

White Ops provides software solutions that verify online adverts and defend enterprises from cyberattacks involving bots. Founded in 2012, the cybersecurity firm said it verifies human involvement in more than 10 trillion transactions per week of its customers.

The New York-headquartered company said the acquisition will allow it to proceed with its next phase of growth and expand into new markets.

According to the company’s own figures, White Ops grew its customer base by 40% in 2020. It also increased employee headcount by 25% to 170.

“We have been very pleased with the company’s performance since our initial investment and we’re delighted to build on our current partnership, especially as White Ops continues to benefit from consumers’ shift to digital and clients increasingly require protection,” said Anthony Arnold, managing director at Goldman Sachs.

“We look forward to supporting management in their next phase of growth.”

In 2016 White Ops discovered the botnet 3ve. Between 2013 and 2018 hackers hijacked computers to generate clicks on online adverts on fake websites to earn fraudulent income.

A joint investigation between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, White Ops and other security companies eventually shut the botnet down after it infected an estimated 1.7 million PCs.

“As fraud and abuse become increasingly prevalent across the digital ecosystem, enterprises and internet platforms require sophisticated threat protection now more than ever. White Ops has proven that it can stop fraud and abuse at tremendous scale,” said Jay Leek, managing partner of ClearSky.

“We have spent a lot of time with their leadership team over the past year and have been impressed with the strength and quality of their platform. We look forward to partnering to continue to build on the company’s leadership position in the industry.”


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