A pro-ISIS billboard in eastern Raqqa, Syria, October 2014.
Nour Fourat / Reuters

Despite the efforts of the United States and its allies to fight the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), the group remains a formidable danger. It holds territory in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, and Syria and directs cells in Bangladesh, Egypt, France, the North Caucasus, and Yemen. ISIS operatives have conducted terrorist attacks in Europe—including one in November 2015 in Paris that killed 130 people—and lone wolves inspired by its propaganda have committed violence throughout the West.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, like that of former President Barack Obama, has publicly committed itself to defeating ISIS using conventional military means. This approach has its benefits, but it ignores a significant part of the threat posed by ISIS. The group is strong not only on the battlefield but also in cyberspace, where it uses sophisticated techniques to communicate with sympathizers, spread propaganda, and recruit new members all around

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  • ANDREW BYERS is a visiting Assistant Professor of History at Duke University who has served as an intelligence and counterterrorism analyst. TARA MOONEY is a counter-violent-extremism analyst and co-founder of Talon Intelligence. Byers and Mooney are the co-founders of the Counter Extremism Network.
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