White Ops, a fraud detection platform that protects enterprises and online platforms from automated attacks, announced 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 in White Ops 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 over the years, adapting and shape-shifting to become more like humans. But these advances can be put to nefarious ends, including “click fraud,” when bad actors automate taps on “pay-per-click” (PPC) ads to increase site revenue, for example. Back in 2017, White Ops and other tech companies, such as Google, were involved in what was thought to be one of the FBI’s biggest-ever ad fraud investigations.

Bots are also often used in “imitation attacks” that attempt to access people’s accounts through credential stuffing.

To combat automated bot-based attacks at scale, automation is the only meaningful recourse. And such tools are in high demand, with the broader online fraud prevention market currently pegged at $21 billion , 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 principal owners, White Ops is in a strong position to expand “into new vertical markets” across the enterprise.

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