File - An image grab taken from a video released by Islamic State group's official Al-Raqqa site via YouTube on September 23, 2014, allegedly shows ISIS group recruits riding in armed trucks in an unknown location.
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Even as warplanes flown by the U.S. and its allies try to dislodge ISIS militants from Iraq and Syria, a less visible battle is under way in remote corners of the Internet. Since the terrorist group emerged as a powerful military force, its adherents have proven skilled at using secure communication channels to plan operations and recruit new fighters via the Web. That has spurred intelligence agencies to step up efforts to break encryption codes, pose as would-be terrorists online and deploy old-fashioned spies to gather information about their digital strategy, security experts say. Islamist extremists have become increasingly prominent in the online underworld, joining hackers who've attacked the likes of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and criminal gangs that sell drugs and child porn. Spies are borrowing tactics from the fight against those groups as they seek to disrupt the ability of militants to operate on the so-called "Dark Web" – where they woo new members, plan attacks and disseminate propaganda.
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