HUMAN’s All-Encompassing Cybersecurity Platform Protects Against ‘Bad Bots And Nefarious Cyber Criminals’

CPO Apurva Joshi shares a behind-the-curtain peek at how the Human Defense Platform was made.

Written by Taylor Rose
Published on May. 17, 2024
HUMAN’s All-Encompassing Cybersecurity Platform Protects Against ‘Bad Bots And Nefarious Cyber Criminals’
Photo: HUMAN
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When the editors at TIME magazine pick out the top 100 inventions each year, they look for four things in particular: originality, efficacy, ambition and impact.

Some of the inventions on the 2023 list can have a drastic impact on one person’s life — like the new video game controller with 22 swappable parts that can custom build an accessible gaming experience.

Some inventions on the list are so ambitious that they might change the entire planet — like the design for cement that is carbon negative or the tractor that runs on methane. 

Some inventions on the list are so effective, if used widely, that they could put forced obsolescence to bed — like the laptop and cell phone that let users switch out parts as it ages or breaks. 

Then there are a few inventions on the 2023 list though that check all four boxes — like HUMAN’s newest cybersecurity platform. 

HUMAN is a cybersecurity company known for its ability to sniff out bots amidst real human interactions online. What the company does is a little more complicated than a CAPTCHA test, though. HUMAN’s website boasts that, within a few seconds, its tools can verify the human identity behind 13 billion digital interactions.  

Unlike some pieces of tech on the TIME Best Inventions of 2023 list that are still in early development stages, the inner workings of HUMAN’s cybersecurity tool — called the Human Defense Platform — has been hard at work for years.

In 2023 alone, HUMAN took down two of the most widespread bots in history — and has a long history of doing so. 

“Last year HUMAN published impactful research that ultimately protected our customers and the ecosystem from some of the most sophisticated attacks,” said Chief Product Officer Apurva Joshi. “We say ‘a detection event for one becomes a protection event for all,’ meaning when we detect these attacks we’re able to build protections into the Human Defense Platform to protect all of our customers.”

Joshi spoke with Built In about how the monumental platform came together and its potential to protect businesses from fraud and bot attacks. 

 

What is the product team excited about right now?

Apurva Joshi
Chief Product Officer • HUMAN

The product team is most excited about continuing to build upon the Human Defense Platform. It’s one powerful platform to protect businesses from digital attacks targeting ad, web, mobile and API surfaces. 

Whether it’s stealing sensitive data, breaking into online accounts, purchasing limited-availability goods and resources, making fraudulent financial transactions, manipulating content, scraping data, or conducting malvertising or ad fraud — cybercriminals can take many different paths to commit digital fraud and abuse. Every touch point in a user’s online journey with the organization has the potential to become a point of vulnerability. The Human Defense Platform keeps your business and users protected from the ever-evolving threats, techniques and procedures used by cybercriminals.
 

THE BATTLE OF THE BOT ARMIES

“HUMAN orchestrated a complete takedown of its largest botnet operation, VASTFLUX, an ad fraud scheme spoofing apps on nearly 11 million devices,” said Joshi, discussing the two major cyberattacks that HUMAN fought against last year. “The team also uncovered a complex global cybercriminal operation dubbed BADBOX, with an ad fraud module downloaded 20 million times on associated apps, averaging 4 billion fraudulent ad requests per day. HUMAN worked with Google and Apple to take the apps down.” 

 

What was the origin story behind the Human Defense Platform?

While HUMAN was on its path to extended protection of users’ journey beyond ads with a new application security product, the merger with PerimeterX and HUMAN in July 2022 provided the unique foundation to build a category-defining platform. As one company, we are able to reduce and eliminate digital attacks along the customer’s entire digital journey — from browsing the internet, to clicking on an ad and eventually making a transaction. 

We are the only company uniquely positioned to solve this problem today, given the visibility we gain from the 20 trillion interactions we verify a week. HUMAN’s decade-plus history of protecting the ad tech ecosystem is to thank for that; it has created a solid foundation that we can build upon. 

With this high visibility we’re able to use collective protection to support our customers — an attack on one becomes a defense for all. The Human Defense Platform deploys those protections. The impact on our customers is ongoing as our team learns more about emerging threats and crafts solutions to protect them through the platform.  

 

HUMAN
HUMAN 

 

What role do you play in guiding the platform to success? 

As a CPO who joined the company post-merger between HUMAN and PerimeterX, a big part of my role is to drive the strategic and technical vision behind the Human Defense Platform, while helping the team relentlessly prioritize outcomes and solutions that benefit our customers.

 

What does the Human Defense Platform represent in the market? 

HUMAN’s unified platform represents a significant leap in both cybersecurity and media sectors, capturing the entirety of a user’s journey in a sophisticated manner. Our innovative platform stands alone in the market, marking us the only company to have achieved such a comprehensive integration of services and insights. By seamlessly weaving together every user interaction with digital environments from browsing to purchasing, we provide an all-encompassing protective defense against all kinds of cyberattacks and online fraud, stopping bad bots and nefarious cyber criminals. 

 

“[HUMAN is] the only company to have achieved such a comprehensive integration of services and insights.”

 

Our platform’s core innovative machine learning-based detection engine is designed to identify threats and opportunities with unparalleled speed and accuracy. By solving a wide range of use cases with this singular platform, we address the complex needs of today’s digital enterprise and pave the way for future innovations.

 

What obstacles did you encounter along the way? How did you navigate through them with your team? 

As a combined company of super-talented product and research and development folks, it’s natural to experience inertia changes across consolidation of technology, process and culture. One of the most fundamental roles of a product manager is to build bridges across various parts of the organization while facilitating difficult conversations and driving alignments. It starts at the top and bubbles down to the teams’ planning quarters, starting with the “whys” that align with the company’s core objectives and goals. 

It is the same old simple formula, which is always the most difficult to execute. 

Do you know what helps build bridges or drive alignments and motivations? The answer is a win, regardless of the size. When teams work on common goals that output smaller wins, they start adding up to more significant wins when celebrated. 

The next thing you know, your cultures are blending organically and bridges are built in front of your eyes. We had many combined customer wins, technological wins and constant open communications that drove alignment. This is and will be a neverending ongoing process; if there is any prolonged deviation, you are back to the drawing board.

 

HUMAN
HUMAN

 

What teams did you collaborate with in order to get this across the finish line? 

When building a platform, you don’t collaborate with teams; you collaborate with the entire company. Everyone in the company should feel part of the initiative and have skin in the game. You don’t get there alone. I don’t care who you are. 

In my book, there is only one strategy for a successful and seamless cross-functional collaboration. It’s constant and open communication. At the end of the day, one-on-ones, group meetings, offsites, QBRs and newsletters, et cetera are various examples of running large initiatives cross-functionally, and they all facilitate communication and alignment. 

Many mid- to late-stage startups miss the mark on understanding the importance of roles in project management, product operations and business operations. Having these roles in the critical parts of the businesses — product, engineering, marketing, revenue, finance and customer success — gave each function a face to their day-to-day jobs. It’s much easier to coordinate communication and drive alignment with a single face representing a given function’s voice within an organization.

 

When you think of other companies in your industry, how does HUMAN compare when it comes to how you build and launch new products?

While I have been in the tech industry for over 22 years — working for 16 years at Microsoft implementing self-service and automation solutions and helping to build one of the largest cloud platforms — HUMAN is my first foray into cybersecurity. 

HUMAN is a unique combination of companies that build technologies for solving use cases across a customer’s entire digital journey. Very few companies start with technological innovations as a hero product that tries to create net new markets, think large mega-cap cloud companies. Many others solve for customer experiences and use cases where the underlying technology is different from the hero product. 

HUMAN is a unique combination of both with solutions that taps into known threats such as ad fraud and account takeover while doing something no one else can — protect the entire digital journey. We protect against malvertising, account fraud, scraping, data contamination and more. From the first time a user sees an ad to visiting a site to creating and logging into an account, we protect every touchpoint.
 

Read MoreFishing for Harmony: How HUMAN’s CMO Fosters a Thriving Team Culture

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by HUMAN.

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