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.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

An Outcome-Based Analysis Of U.S. Cyber Strategy Of Persistence & Defense Forward

by Herbert Lin, Max Smeetsvia Lawfare
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The new U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) vision and the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy embody a fundamental reorientation in strategic thinking.

Analysis and Commentary

Proposal For A Cyber-International Committee Of The Red Cross

by Elaine Korzak, Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

This article proposes the creation of an international organization modeled after the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide assistance and relief to vulnerable citizens and enterprises affected by serious cyberattacks. Companies that have signed onto the Tech Accord principles would form the core of the organization, thereby filling an important gap in an increasingly volatile geopolitical environment. In this article, the term “cyber-ICRC” is intended to be suggestive of the role that such an organization might play but not to imply any kind of formal connection to the ICRC. 


Bloomberg's Groundbreaking Report On A Chinese Supply-Chain Attack

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Thursday, October 4, 2018

As many readers know, supply chain security has been an increasing concern for those who use information technology for critical functions—that is, it affects everyone.

Analysis and Commentary

Developing Responses To Cyber-Enabled Information Warfare And Influence Operations

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Thursday, September 6, 2018

This article defines information warfare and influence operations as the deliberate use of information by one party on an adversary population to confuse, mislead and ultimately influence the actions that the targeted population makes. Information warfare and influence operations are hostile activity, or at least an activity that is conducted between two parties whose interests are not well-aligned.

Analysis and Commentary

What The National Counterintelligence And Security Center Really Said About Chinese Economic Espionage

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Defense News recently ran a story describing a July 2018 report from the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) on “Foreign Economic Espionage in Cyberspace”.

Analysis and Commentary

Cybersecurity Fallout From The Partisan Divide Over Russian Election Interference?

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Thursday, July 26, 2018

A recent Ipsos/Reuters poll found that 56 percent of Americans strongly agree or somewhat agree that Russia interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump. Within that group, only 32 percent of Republicans but 81 percent of Democrats shared that sentiment. It is hardly a surprise, but a partisan divide on this point is quite apparent.

Analysis and Commentary

What Is Absent From The U.S. Cyber Command 'Vision'

by Herbert Lin, Max Smeetsvia Lawfare
Thursday, May 3, 2018

United States Cyber Command recently released a new “command vision” entitled “Achieve and Maintain Cyberspace Superiority.” The document seeks to provide: “a roadmap for USCYBERCOM to achieve and maintain superiority in cyberspace as we direct, synchronize, and coordinate cyberspace planning and operations to defend and advance national interests in collaboration with domestic and foreign partners.”

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Unleashing the High-tech Dogs of War

by Herbert Linvia Hoover Digest
Friday, April 20, 2018

Artificial intelligence will bring deadlier, smarter weapons. And the command structures that deploy them are likely to possess fewer scruples about harming civilians.

Analysis and Commentary

The Danger Of Deep Fakes: Responding To Bobby Chesney And Danielle Citron

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Bobby Chesney and Danielle Citron have painted a truly depressing picture of a future in which faked video and audio cannot be distinguished from the real thing. And I think they are right to be depressed about it, though I want to discuss a possible technological solution that they did not address.

Analysis and Commentary

The East West Institute's New Report On Encryption: A Review

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Friday, February 23, 2018

On Feb. 15, 2018, the East West Institute (EWI) released its report “Encryption Policy in Democratic Regimes: Finding Convergent Paths and Balanced Solutions,” which the group presented as offering “normative recommendations on encryption policy to ensure strong cybersecurity while enabling lawful law enforcement access to the plain text of encrypted information in limited circumstances.”