The dark web is the new underbelly of the internet. It is a place where freedom of speech is absolute and unconstrained. It is a dark world, the parallel internet that can be found only through encrypted private networks, unknown by many and accessed by few.
I came across terrorist recruiters on the dark web. I can’t say for sure if this was a serious attempt or just somebody playing out their fantasies online. But at the time it happened it felt very real to me.
There seems to be an ISIS recruiting agent in every corner of the world today. They prey on the vulnerable ones. Those who are poor, they persuade them with money. They provide drugs for those with psychological troubles. The dark web seems to be a safe haven for their recruitment activities.
For those who have lost their father figure due to abandonment, death or otherwise, they send someone (surrogate) to them to replace that missing element in their life. The surrogate sends them funds like bitcoins, monero etc to help them with their needs, and at the same time, these terrorist fuckers would try their best to radicalize them. All these is done via encrypted messages on Tor.
I met my would be recruiters while buying drugs on the deep web. They pretended to be one person, but I don’t think it was one person. Sometimes it felt like I was messaging different people. He owned a vendor account and was one of the best, If not the best vendor I met out there. All my orders arrived on time, he was polite and very helpful whenever I asked questions. He always went out of his way to help me, and if I had any problems with my order he would refund me, no questions asked.
After a few months of successfully trading with him, he started getting personal. I did not realize this at first, but he wanted to know what I did for fun, on Friday nights, if I had a girlfriend, family, pretty innocuous stuff. I started getting freebies, initially I thought it was LE, but after a while I let my guard down. I reasoned that if it was LE, they would have already raided my school dorm with the information they already had on me.
I played along and subtly our conversations moved towards religion and remained there. I was high most of the time, but when the radicalization started I could see clearly what he was trying to do. I played along for the free highs. He didn’t stand a chance, but I feigned sympathy to get free drugs. I pretended I couldn’t pay my rent, and after a few days I received free bitcoins.
He tried exploiting my “anger” and tried convincing me to travel to Turkey. I told him I couldn’t as I did not have a passport or the right documents to travel that far. He kept on pressuring me and offered to help me get everything I would need for a smooth trip. He really turned on the screw , at some point it became too much for me, and I got scared. What started as a joke was now a nightmare. I switched off and I never signed into the dark web again.