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The House of Representatives has approved three bipartisan bills intended to strengthen efforts to combat cyber attacks on the critical infrastructure.
Approved Monday, the bills are:
• H.R. 3696, the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, which requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct cyber security activities including “shared situational awareness” among federal entities to prevent, mitigate, respond to and recover from cyber incidents.
• H.R. 2952, the Critical Infrastructure Research and Development Advancement Act, which amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to improve laws relating to the advancement of security technologies for critical infrastructure protection.
• H.R. 3107, the Homeland Security Cybersecurity Boots-on-the Ground Act, which assesses the readiness and capacity of the Department of Homeland Security to meet its “cyber security mission.”
Commenting on H.R. 3696, Michael McFaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said in a statement: “Last week, the former co-chair of the 9/11 Commission testified that we are in a pre-9/11 mindset when it comes to cyber security. A successful cyber attack on our nation’s water systems, oil and gas pipelines, power grids and mass transit systems on the scale of the recent retail breaches could cause crippling economic damage and could even cost lives.
“The reality is the threat is outpacing our readiness to combat it. We must take action, and the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act is an important step toward addressing the cyber threat. This bipartisan bill establishes a true partnership between DHS and the private sector to ensure the distribution of real-time cyber threat information in order to secure our nation in cyber space without burdensome mandates or regulations.”
Federal agencies need to improve their cyber incident response practices, a report released Friday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office finds.