Chinese president Xi Jinping and US president Barack Obama discussed a wide range of issues, from human rights to economic output, during the latter's official state visit to the US this September, yet it is perhaps the topic of cybercrime that took precedence.
Recent escalations, from the breach at the US Office of Personnel Management that resulted in the loss of millions of federal records to the hack on United Airlines, meant that the US and China were forced to sit down and negotiate a cyber peace treaty.
However, despite the positive spin that has since been put on the talks, not everyone is optimistic about the supposed agreement.
Leo Taddeo, former FBI special agent in charge of the New York cyber division, suggested that the truce is a largely ceremonial affair.
"I think that both countries will continue to talk about it, but the fact is that it serves the Chinese interest to target [US] networks," he told V3 in an interview.
"They are going to do a very sober cost/benefit analysis and, until we reach a point where it's not serving their interest, they will continue to do it.
"We will continue to see better techniques. We may see a higher level of hacker coming at our networks, someone who isn't as noisy, someone who isn't as easy to detect, but we will not see a reduction in Chinese efforts to gain a competitive advantage using cyber tools."
Taddeo, who had a distinguished career spanning 21 years at the FBI, specialised in counter-terrorism, organised crime and international operations while overseeing high-profile cases, including Silk Road, Blackshades and the breach at JP Morgan. He is now chief security officer at Cryptzone.
"I reached a point in my career where I was looking for new challenges. I wanted to stay in the fight, if you will, I wanted to continue to contribute to national security issues," he told V3.
"I realised that most of the solutions would be in technical areas, and technical solutions would have a great impact on the overall threat."
Taddeo's unique insight into the cyber security landscape has left him more than qualified for his latest role.
When asked whether there was a defining moment when law enforcement woke up to the threat of cybercrime, Taddeo said that it was always on the agenda but that the FBI lacked the resources to combat the problem.
"In my field we have been talking about it for a long time. The problem is competing priorities. In a world where my counterpart on the counter-terrorism side is talking about criminals and terrorists who are trying to fly airliners into skyscrapers, it's hard to move resources from those programmes to cyber," he said.
"So, it's not that we were not aware of it, it's just that funding and resources were so limited that we had a trickle effect into the cyber programmes rather than an awakening where we were able to shift quickly."
And there is certainly growing awareness of the problem. Obama signed an Executive Order in February to promote the sharing of cyber threat data between the private sector and the government.
"We're making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism," he said at the time.
Taddeo is able to offer specific insight into how the cyber industry has changed over the years from the perspective of law enforcement.
"We went from hackers that were looking into break into networks to see if it could be done, to hackers who study networks to see where they can gain entry that can be monetised. That's high profit, low risk," he said.
"Early on, cyber criminals were basically motivated by financial gain. That's evolved to where we have highly organised criminal groups who are pouring their profits back into the organisation to make it more specialised.
"The adversary continues to surprise us in how they can monetise the data that's on our networks."
The main question for every government, according to Taddeo, is what exactly constitutes an ‘adversary'.
"State-sponsored groups are a different type of cyber criminal. So when we are talking about cybercrime, that's just one category. But the state-sponsored groups, of course, include the classic China, Russia and Iran," he said.
"There are also some state-sponsored groups that aren't necessarily targeting US networks but who are very active in their own region, and that does include North and South Korea and Pakistan, for example.
"So with the exception of North Korea those countries are very active in the cyber domain but they haven't been targeting US networks as often as, say, the Russian or Chinese groups."
In a ground-breaking case in May this year, the US government indicted five Chinese military hackers for cyber espionage against US corporations, signifying a dwindling patience on the side of the Americans.
"We criminalised what was industrial espionage on the part of the Chinese military. US law is written such that, if we can identify the individual responsible, he or she can be charged under US law," said Taddeo.
"The Chinese responded with outrage that we would even consider them to have done this. Their response ranged from counter-accusations, saying that we do the same thing (which is not true) but they don't see the difference in what we do to what they do - to complete denial. That's the pattern we have seen time and time again."
The US is attempting to combat a cyber threat from all angles, but it's the disclosures from within its own secretive security agencies that continue to cause trouble. These are, of course, the ongoing leaks from Edward Snowden.
The former NSA contactor leaked a mass of confidential documents to journalists from The Guardian in 2013 that detailed the inner workings of surveillance by the NSA, FBI, CIA and the UK's GCHQ. What followed was a maelstrom of press coverage focused on privacy and security.
Taddeo maintained that whistleblowers are a necessary component of law enforcement, but stopped well short of celebrating Snowden's actions.
"What Edward Snowden did was illegal, it was wrong and it has had a profound negative effect on national security," he told V3.
"He committed very serious crimes and, despite his explanation that he was doing so for the benefit of the US, there's a lot of evidence that it wasn't at all for the benefit of the US but actually was very damaging for national security.
"Whistleblowers are essential to law enforcement. If it weren't for whistleblowers much of the criminal activity that we investigate and eventually prosecute would not be uncovered."
One tool used by Snowden, and many other activists and privacy-conscious internet users, is Tor, which can offer an anonymous online connection. However, the dark web, accessible only via the Tor browser, is famously difficult to police.
"If someone is properly using the Tor network it's very difficult to determine who they are and where they are. Both points of communication, the receiver and the sender, are obfuscated," said Taddeo.
"One of the problems with Tor and one of the problems with the dark web is that we don't have reliable crime statistics to tell us how big the problem is.
"It's not like physical crime where we have reports of a robbery or reports of a homicide that are reliable and in many ways comparable year over year to tell us whether a problem is getting better or worse. I can't tell you how bad the problem is and I don't think anybody can with reliability."
Taddeo explained that the skills he developed during his time at the FBI are transferable to his new position at Cryptzone.
"Understanding how the adversary operates, understanding what deters an adversary, understanding how an adversary acquires the resources to attack us and how an adversary uses those resources to attack us, gives me some insight into what works to prevent or at least minimise the damage from those types of attacks," he said.
"Having that perspective I think is essential. It's not enough to understand the ones and zeros within a network if you don't understand the human being on the other keyboard."
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