McCaul: America is under attack by 'digital bombs'

Mike McCaul, R-Texas

Mike McCaul, R-Texas David J. Phillip/AP file photo

Lawmakers have scheduled several bills for floor debate during what's been dubbed 'cyber week.'

Lawmakers pushing for new cybersecurity legislation warned on Tuesday of a nightmare scenario of chemical gas clouds, train derailments, and financial ruin after a hypothetical cyberattack.

“There are no shells exploding or foreign militaries on our shores. But make no mistake: America is under attack by digital bombs,” Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, said at a hearing of his House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management.

McCaul is among several lawmakers whose cybersecurity legislation is scheduled for floor debate on Thursday, during the House’s “Cyber Week.” Among the proposals are bills to increase information sharing among businesses and government, and to streamline government network security. McCaul’s bill would increase cybersecurity research, development, and education.

Witnesses at Tuesday’s hearing included Gregory Wilhusen, director of information security issues at the Government Accountability Office. In prepared testimony he noted that over the past six years, government agencies have reported a 680 percent increase in cyberattacks.