5 Questions with HUMAN CEO and Co-founder Tamer Hassan

On July 28, Fastly announced a reseller partnership with HUMAN Security, Inc. – a cybersecurity company that safeguards enterprises and internet platforms from sophisticated bot attacks and fraud. I sat down with HUMAN CEO and Co-founder Tamer Hassan to discuss how cybercriminals are weaponizing bots to commit fraud and other crime, and what HUMAN and Fastly are doing together to protect our joint customers from this damaging threat.

Q: In previous interviews, you described the bot and fraud problem as “one of the most important cybersecurity problems in modern times.” How did we get here and, looking ahead 5-10 years, where do you think this problem is headed?

A: To start, it’s worth defining a bot. At the most basic level, bots are automated programs on the internet or other networks that can interact with systems or users and replicate human activity online. Malicious bots have become increasingly sophisticated and fairly cheap and easy to deploy, which is why they have become one of this decade’s foremost cyber threats. Bots are used in over three quarters of online security and fraud incidents, for manipulating popularity and sentiment, as well as stealing sensitive data, creating fake accounts and breaking into online accounts, purchasing limited goods and resources, fraudulent financial transactions, and much more.

The problem has grown exponentially over the past two years due in part because of pandemic-related digital transformation. Cybercriminals follow the money and reputation, and they have become much more sophisticated in their approach to digital attacks, bypassing current security tools. Looking ahead, sophisticated cybercriminals will continue to use bots as their weapon of choice to bypass most of the current security systems and tools that are available on the market today that stop only simple attacks. The combination of HUMAN and Fastly as partners bringing the best of the programmable edge and bot and fraud protection in modern defense with an emphasis on ease-of-use enables us to safeguard our customers and stay ahead of the most sophisticated cybercriminals.

Looking ahead 5-10 years, we expect to see an increase in synthetic identities where fraudsters can perpetuate fake account creation and compromise the source real identities, making it extremely difficult for traditional bot detection solutions to discern between two. We are already seeing the emergence of synthetic identities; just like the best lies, synthetic identities combine real and fictitious information to create a new identity.

Q: What is the biggest myth about bot detection and mitigation?

A: The biggest myth about bots is the idea that they come from server farms. In reality, most malicious bot activity comes from our own devices in the form of malware infections running in the background on our computers, mobile devices and tablets. This has a significant impact because our identities are tied to our devices, including our demographic data, shopping interests, social media account logins, etc. The implication is that bots can carry these identities with them and mimic human behavior almost perfectly. 

Bots are increasingly more sophisticated than they used to be with many designed specifically for targeted attacks and fraud schemes. As an example, sneaker bots are designed for product drops and infamously buy up sneakers and then resell them for massive profits before human fans can purchase them at the retail value. This is just one small part of the thriving bot economy driven by cybercriminals. 

The right approach to disrupt these attacks is modern defense, uniting industry leading visibility, network effect and disruptions on top of a comprehensive solution – like our Human Defense Platform – rather than a feature, Captcha or homegrown tools. HUMAN observes 15 trillion interactions per week, validating bot or human interactions with over 3 billion sensors making up the largest digital attack sensor network worldwide. This is the only way we will all win.  

 Q: What happens to your customers before they come to you? What makes them decide they need bot, fraud and account abuse protection from HUMAN?

 A: 77% of all digital attacks utilize bots to scale and obfuscate cybercriminal activity throughout the attack path. Even though customers typically already have some type of bot mitigation solution in place, they are dealing with the impact of bots on the business. 

When our single line of code is deployed on top of our customers’ systems, we typically find and stop 20% more really bad things. This malicious activity that slips through is the most sophisticated and potentially damaging to the organization. Modern businesses need modern defense across the digital attack lifecycle where bad actors steal data to fuel fraud and use automation for testing and validation – which ultimately causes financial and brand reputation damage. Modern defense safeguards against account takeover, fake account creation, carding, client-side supply chain attacks, digital skimming, PII harvesting, web scraping, scalping and denial of inventory with unmatched speed, scale, and precision when combined with Fastly. We then are able to protect the customer from these ongoing attacks – many times disrupting cybercriminal operations – as well as safeguard all of our customers with collective protection.

Q: Why is this partnership with Fastly significant?

A: In order for a business to protect its customers, revenue, and even operational efficiencies from digital attacks, it needs a security solution that protects all apps from known and unknown threats, including impersonation or zero-day exploits. 

And that's not just me talking. When we announced the HUMAN-PerimeterX merger, a key industry analyst spoke about the need for unified WAF and API security capabilities. I think we have more than addressed that need with our Fastly partnership, which now gives customers Fastly's award-winning web application and API protection, together with HUMAN’s bot and fraud protection and remediation capabilities. Fastly customers that activate HUMAN contribute and benefit from the largest digital attack sensor network consisting of over 3 billion sensors worldwide. It’s easy to use, simply to deploy, and has exceptional detection capabilities. 

I can't think of a stronger solution available today that proactively protects companies from sophisticated bots, fraud and other forms of cyberattacks.

Q: How will Fastly’s customers benefit from using HUMAN’s technology?

A: Fastly customers are already benefiting from our Human Defense Platform. For example, a global e-commerce company had implemented a bot management solution to protect its digital purchasing experience, but sophisticated bots were still getting through. By deploying a single line of code, HUMAN and Fastly revealed that sophisticated bots were taking over a significant number of customer accounts to purchase goods for resale–making it past the existing bot management defenses. With the implementation of the Human Defense Platform and Fastly’s Next-Gen WAF, these attacks were stopped, and the cybercriminal organization was disrupted, protecting the customer experience and the company’s brand reputation. With HUMAN’s modern defense approach, a digital attack detection event anywhere creates a protection event everywhere for all collective customers. 

Customers can now purchase both Fastly and HUMAN bot and fraud solutions through a streamlined procurement process.

To learn more about Fastly’s partnership with HUMAN Security or to request a 30-day demo and proof of value, reach out to partners@fastly.com.

Lakshmi Sharma
Chief Product & Strategy Officer
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Lakshmi Sharma
Chief Product & Strategy Officer

Lakshmi Sharma has been building dynamic product organizations for decades, having most recently served as the Director of Product Management for Networking at Google Cloud, where the end-to-end customer experience for network solutions crossing multiple industries was a key responsibility. With extensive experience across infrastructure, cloud, and security organizations, including product and engineering leadership roles at Target Corporation, Cisco, and Juniper Networks, she joined Fastly to focus on the delivery, security, and edge compute portfolio. Sharma will focus on the long-term product roadmap and innovation that empowers Fastly customers to develop, deliver, and secure modern distributed applications.