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iPad-loving PM talks cyber security in US

AAP logoAAP 23/09/2016 Jennifer Rajca

He's the man Tony Abbott once declared virtually invented the internet in Australia.

And on his day long visit to the US capital on Thursday (local time), Malcolm Turnbull turned his focus to just that.

Returning to speak at the Australia-US Cyber Security Dialogue he announced during a visit to the White House in January the prime minister said no infrastructure is more important to the future prosperity and freedom of the global community than the internet.

"It powers and punctuates our daily lives, supports our business transactions and joins our countries in what is truly a World Wide Web," he told the gathering at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC.

Speaking in front of an audience which included his wife Lucy and Australia's ambassador to Washington Joe Hockey, he also noted his announcement in April for the first time that Australia has an offensive cyber capability.

"A capacity to respond to state and non-state actors who attack us," he said.

Mr Turnbull admitted governments only acknowledge the capacity, in the same way as warships, submarines and fighter jets.

Referencing the recent census disaster, he said improvements to cyber incident response is on the minds of those in Australia, given the denial of service incident.

"Although it was nationally significant, it was technically predictable and not a unique situation for business and governments," he noted.

"However, we struggled with the laden meaning of the word 'attack'."

Mr Turnbull said the term "denial of service attack" has begun to permeate and if a nation says it has come under attack it is weighted with tremendous significance.

"We need to be able to communicate an accurate level of significance."

Secretary for Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, who joined him at the dialogue, said Mr Turnbull was giving him a second challenge - apart from working together on cyber security.

"I noted that the prime minister delivered his remarks not from paper, not from a teleprompter, but I'm now sharing a stage with a head of government who reads his speech from an iPad," he said.

"Congratulations sir, you've issued me another challenge."

Next year's dialogue will be held in Australia.

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