Herbert Lin

Hank J. Holland Fellow in Cyber Policy and Security, Hoover Institution

Herb Lin is a senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Hank J. Holland Fellow in cyber policy and security at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University.  His research interests concern the policy-related dimensions of cybersecurity and cyberspace; he is particularly interested in and knowledgeable about the use of offensive operations in cyberspace, especially as instruments of national policy.  In addition to his positions at Stanford University, he is chief scientist emeritus for the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, at the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies, where he served from 1990 through 2014 as study director of major projects on public policy and information technology, and adjunct senior research scholar and senior fellow in cybersecurity (not in residence) at the Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies in the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Before his NRC service, he was a professional staff member and staff scientist for the House Armed Services Committee (1986–90), where his portfolio included defense policy and arms control issues. He received his doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

To read more about Herb Lin's interests, see "An Evolving Research Agenda in Cyber Policy and Security."

He is also a longtime folk and swing dancer and a poor magician. Apart from his work on cyberspace and cybersecurity, he has published on cognitive science, science education, biophysics, and arms control and defense policy. He also consults on K–12 math and science education.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Cyber Assaults On Democracy’s ‘Brain-Space’ Are Here To Stay

by Herbert Linvia The Cipher Brief
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The United States has no peer competitors in conventional military power. But its adversaries are increasingly turning to asymmetric methods for engaging in conflict. Cyber-enabled information warfare (CEIW) is a form of conflict to which the United States – and liberal democracies more generally – are particularly vulnerable.

Analysis and Commentary

Will Artificially Intelligent Weapons Kill The Laws Of War?

by Herbert Linvia The Bulletin
Monday, September 18, 2017

On September 1, Vladimir Putin spoke with Russian students about science in an open lesson, saying that “the future belongs to artificial intelligence” and whoever masters it first will rule the world. “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” he added. “It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

Analysis and Commentary

The US And South Korea Should Conditionally End Large Joint Military Exercises

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The United States and South Korea (the “U.S.-ROK alliance”) generally conduct two major military exercises throughout the year: the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercise in the fall (now underway until August 31, 2017) and the Foal Eagle-Key Resolve exercise in the spring. North Korea regularly...

Analysis and Commentary

The Laws Of Mathematics And The Laws Of Nations: The Encryption Debate Revisited

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Australia is weighing in on the encryption debate regarding exceptional access by law enforcement. 

Analysis and Commentary

What Exactly Does "Locked And Loaded" Mean?

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

On August 11, 2017, President Donald Trump tweeted that “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.” Many observers have interpreted the president’s statement as doubling down on his earlier threats to use military force against North Korea.


War Clouds On The Korean Peninsula: What Would We Do If…?

by Herbert Linvia The Bulletin
Friday, August 11, 2017

Anyone who has been following the news lately knows that both Kim Jung Un and Donald Trump have escalated their war rhetoric and that one US intelligence agency (DIA) has concluded that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles. Yesterday, the President said that his earlier “fire and fury” comments were perhaps not tough enough towards North Korea, and today he said that “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded” should North Korea act unwisely. 

Analysis and Commentary

A Continuing Need For Stealth With Loud Cyber Weapons

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

C4ISRNET recently published an interesting and useful four-part series exploring what U.S. Cyber Command will need to operate on its own, separate from the National Security Agency.


On Cooperating With Bad Actors In Cyberspace

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Monday, July 17, 2017

In a July 11 posting, Paul Rosenzweig argued that cyber cooperation with bad actors is always a bad idea, specifically referring to the President’s incomprehensible idea to form with Russia “an impenetrable Cyber Security unit [with Russia] so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded.”

In the News

Lawmakers Sound Alarm About Russian Cybersecurity Firm

by Herbert Linvia The Hill
Thursday, July 6, 2017

Senators have moved to bar the Pentagon from using software produced by a Russian-origin cybersecurity firm, underscoring suspicions of its ties to the Russian government.

Analysis and Commentary

On The Inspection Of Anti-Virus Source Code To Demonstrate The Lack Of Offensive Cyber Capabilities

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Monday, July 3, 2017

A recent AP story notes that senior U.S. intelligence officials have advised Congress to steer well clear of Kaspersky's products. In response to such U.S. government concerns, Eugene Kaspersky has offered to allow the inspection of the source code of his anti-virus products.