Australian Home Affair Minister Peter Dutto. (Photo: AAP)

Sydney (VNA) – Australian Home Affair Minister Peter Dutton on March 17 named use of encrypted messaging apps to plot terrorist attacks the greatest threat faced by intelligence agencies in modern times in his remarks at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit that is underway in Sydney.

The use of the “dark web” by extremists and other criminals is increasing, Dutton noted, adding that they are using encrypted messaging apps to avoid detection by police and intelligence agencies.

He stressed that the only way to tackle the threat and the increasing use of the Internet by terrorist groups like Islamic State to radicalize and recruit new members was together.

It would be a mistake to approach the problem from a national perspective as terrorism and violent extremism transcend national borders, the minister said. Countering the threat requires a united and cohesive regional effort involving coordination between national security and law enforcement agencies, he added.

Australia has been helping Southeast Asian states deal with terrorist financing and counter violent extremism.

The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding at the summit, with an agreement to pool cyber intelligence and police resources across the region for the first time.

The ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, the first of its kind, opened in Sydney on March 16, in the presence of Turnbull and leaders of ten ASEAN nations including Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Themed “Enhancing Regional Security and Prosperity”, the event is expected to discuss issues related to regional security, economic relations as well as counter-terrorism measures so as to further tighten the relationship between Australia and ASEAN.

The ASEAN-Australia Business Summit, the International Counter-Terrorism Conference and a plenary meeting of senior leaders are scheduled to take place within the framework of the three-day event.

ASEAN and Australia set up relations in 1974. Australia was the first nation establishing official dialogue partnership with ASEAN in all three fields of politics, economics and specialised cooperation.-VNA