Law enforcement agencies have repeatedly claimed success in their counter terrorism operations since the Holey Artisan attack
Extremists are plumbing the hidden depths of the “dark web” to avoid closer police monitoring of social media platforms, counter terrorism experts have said.
The dark web is a very small part of the internet which remains “hidden” from surface web users because “deep” web sites are not searchable through traditional engines such as Google and Bing.
It can only be accessed through specific applications where users remain fully anonymous and often carry out illicit activities.
“Although members of these fundamentalist groups are moderately educated, they are all techies,” a senior police officer told the Dhaka Tribune.
“On top of that, they are trained very well so it is not too difficult for them to use the dark web.”
Law enforcement agencies have repeatedly claimed success in their counter terrorism operations since the Holey Artisan attack on July 1, 2016.
But police detectives acknowledge that militant and fundamentalist groups are trying to regroup, using the dark web as one of their refuges.
Amanul Islam Murad, a cybersecurity expert in national infrastructure, warned that the dark web could become “a source of serious trouble”.
“Militants could come back strongly if the dark web menace is not addressed,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
Murad advocated increased surveillance of both the surface web and dark web.
Head of the counter terrorism unit (CTTC), Monirul Islam, said encrypted extremist publications were available on the dark web.
“We are trying to enhance our expertise in that regard,” he said.
According to the cyber crime unit of police, militants are already using the surface web to spread their message through sites such as Facebook and Youtube.
Sources in the unit referenced the case of MomenaShoma, a student in Australia who stabbed a man in Melbourne, and her sister AsmaulHosna who also attempted to attack the police when they tried to interrogate her regarding her sister.
Both sisters had watched YouTube videos by Jasim Uddin Rahmani - the spiritual leader of Ansarullah Bangla team (now Ansar Al Islam).
“It is not possible to identify and block so many sites, but we are trying,” Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) director general Benazir Ahmed said.
The RAB chief said it was not possible in all the cases given their lack of knowledge and logistics.