White Ops Uses AWS to Help Customers Stop Ad Fraud

Online advertising fraud—the practice of fraudulently representing ad impressions, clicks, and conversions—is a massive problem for online advertisers today. In a 2017 report, Juniper Research estimated ad fraud to be worth the equivalent of $51 million every day.

White Ops, a cybersecurity technology company, wants to end fraud once and for all. The company’s solutions quickly detect whether ad impressions are generated by humans or bots. “Our core mission is to eliminate cybercrime on the internet by providing bot protection for ad tech companies,” says Sarah Walker, vice president of engineering for White Ops. The company uses solutions such as MediaGuard, a real-time predictive API, to help prevent fraud.

White Ops needs to ensure 10-millisecond latencies so it can quickly stop fraud in the event that an attack takes place. “Our business is all about speed,” says Walker. “Ad exchanges need to stop fraud as soon as it’s happening, and they don’t want to lose out on bid opportunities because they’re slower than another exchange. Our platform helps them move as quickly as they can.”

The company must have the elasticity to scale up or down during peak times and allow its engineering team more time to focus on developing new products. “We were founded in 2012, but we still consider ourselves a startup,” says Walker. “Our engineers have many responsibilities and we don’t want them to worry about managing infrastructure.”

“Running our bot-detection solutions on AWS, we can help customers respond to threats in minutes or hours instead of days.”

Sarah Walker, Vice President of Engineering, White Ops

  • About White Ops
  • White Ops is a cybersecurity company that protects digital advertisers and web app owners from ad fraud and other automated threats. Founded in 2012, White Ops serves trillions of monthly decisions for some of the web’s largest platforms.

  • Benefits
    • Meets customer requirements for 10-millisecond latencies
    • Processes one million queries per second
    • Doubles business growth
    • Helps customers identify and prevent ad fraud
  • AWS Services Used

Running Bot Detection Applications on AWS

From its inception, White Ops has run its business on Amazon Web Services (AWS). “We chose AWS because of the maturity of the technology, and because there are many product offerings,” says Walker. “Additionally, many of our customers run on AWS, so we wanted to align our business with theirs.”

The company runs MediaGuard and other applications on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) C5 instances and uses Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR) for data processing. 

“We built our AWS environment to achieve low latencies for our products,” says Walker. “Specifically, we optimized on the most powerful Amazon EC2 instance types for the best performance.”

White Ops also stores multiple petabytes of data on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and it relies on AWS services such as Amazon CloudTrail to enhance its security posture.

Battling Ad Fraud and Processing a Million Queries per Second

Using AWS, White Ops meets its customer latency requirements while processing 150 billion transactions a day—compared with 20 billion transactions in 2016. “We process one million queries per second on just two virtual servers, and we could only do that on AWS,” says Walker.

With the performance of its applications on AWS, White Ops is helping ad exchanges stop fraud before they lose millions in revenue. “With ad fraud, there’s a profit window, which is the initial period in which bots make money for companies,” says Walker.

“Running our bot-detection solutions on AWS, we can help customers respond to threats in minutes or hours instead of days. AWS gives us the flexibility and performance to respond to new threats faster, so we can limit the ad fraud profit window for our customers.”

Doubling Business Growth in the Cloud

White Ops doubled its business growth because of the scalability of the AWS Cloud. “We were profitable within three years of starting the company, and a lot of that is because we’ve been able to drive down our costs by optimizing on AWS,” says Walker.

Because it can quickly scale its applications in the cloud, White Ops can onboard more customers when needed. “Every year, we onboard 50 new customers as part of a report we do on industry fraud trends,” Walker says. “We would never be able to do that in a traditional data center. Using AWS, we have the additional capacity to onboard these companies and then quickly scale down when the project is finished.”

As it continues expanding its business, White Ops plans to take advantage of AWS services such as Amazon SageMaker to support new predictive-learning capabilities. “We have confidence that AWS will help us keep innovating and finding new ways of preventing ad fraud,” says Walker. “AWS gives us the technology and the scale we need to support our mission of protecting the internet.”

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