Fighting ISIS On The Deep Web

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It has been well documented that few places are as open to criminal activity as the Deep Web.

Drugs, weapons and hitman services are openly advertised and can be paid for through an anonymous cryptocurrency, bitcoin.

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As such it has become a haven for organised crime, and worse still, a prime recruiting ground for one of the world’s most notorious terrorist groups.

Male terrorist wearing maskOver the past number of years, ISIS has grown rapidly in numbers, and their name is on the lips of everyone who has not been living under a rock.
Videos they have made of cold blooded executions have horrified millions around the world, and they have proved so elusive that an entire coalition of nations have had very limited success in tracking them down.

The case of ISIS is quite strange when looked at first; they are fighting wars on multiple fronts, in five countries across two continents.

There are over 5000km between its operations in Syria and Nigeria, and many wonder how it is possible for them to contact each other without revealing themselves.

The answer is the Deep Web.

ISIS first used, and to an extent still uses, Social Media to reach out to potential jihadists, however now they focus a great deal of attention on the Deep Web, where they recruit and search for donations anonymously.

They also can transfer large sums of money in the form of bitcoin between their many divisions, once again completely anonymously.

Officials such as Professor Edin Mujkic of Colorado Springs University have said that the presence of ISIS on the Deep Web must be removed, stating:

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Officials such as Professor Edin Mujkic of Colorado Springs University have said that the presence of ISIS on the Deep Web must be removed, stating:

“Even if, hypothetically, ISIS is destroyed next year, that doesn’t guarantee that some other group isn’t going to show up and use the same tactics because now they learned from them,”

ISIS typed with font made of bulletsSo how can their grip be curtailed? DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, believe the answer can be found in MEMEX, software that allows for better cataloguing of Deep Web sites.

The software was originally developed for monitoring human trafficking on the Deep Web, but Chris White of DARPA believes that the same principles can be applied to almost any illicit Deep Web activity.

“We need a technology to discover where that content is and make it available for analysis,” he said, “MEMEX allows you to characterize how many websites there are and what kind of content is on them.”

While preventing ISIS from having such a free rein over the Deep Web will not be an easy task, nor will it be the end of the terrorist organisation, it is a very aggressive first step, and it sends a powerful message.

Moreover it should help to prevent future terrorist groups from using the same methods for money transfer and recruitment.

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Fighting ISIS On The Deep Web,
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