Herbert Lin

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

Dr. Herb Lin is Hank J. Holland Fellow in Cyber Policy and Security at the Hoover Institution and senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, both at Stanford University.  His research interests relate broadly to policy-related dimensions of cybersecurity and cyberspace, and he is particularly interested in the use of offensive operations in cyberspace as instruments of national policy and in the security dimensions of information warfare and influence operations on national security.  In addition to his positions at Stanford University, he is Chief Scientist, Emeritus for the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, 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; and a member of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.  In 2016, he served on President Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.  Prior to his NRC service, he was a professional staff member and staff scientist for the House Armed Services Committee (1986-1990), where his portfolio included defense policy and arms control issues. He received his doctorate in physics from MIT.

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

Avocationally, he is a longtime folk and swing dancer and a lousy magician. Apart from his work on cyberspace and cybersecurity, he is published in 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


Hoover In D.C. Puts Scholars In Conversation With Policymakers

featuring Hoover Institution, Mike Franc, Amy Zegart, Herbert Lin, Russell Roberts, Adam J. Whitevia Stanford News
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

When policymakers in Washington D.C. want an outsider perspective on a problem, they don’t need to leave the nation’s capital to get a 10,000-foot view.

Analysis and Commentary

Missile Sabotage By Covert Means

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Tuesday, February 19, 2019

In a Feb. 13 story in the New York Times, David Sanger and William Broad report that the Trump administration has accelerated a secret American program to sabotage Iran’s missiles and rockets by inserting faulty parts and materials into Iran’s aerospace supply chains.

In the News

Add Cybersecurity To Doomsday Clock Concerns, Says Bulletin Of Atomic Scientists

quoting Herbert Linvia CSO Online
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Doomsday Clock, once a ritual feature of the Cold War, warns that cybersecurity issues like IoT and cyber-enabled information warfare endanger humanity.

In the News

Atomic Scientists: Humanity Flirting With Annihilation

quoting Herbert Lin, William J. Perryvia Tribune Star (IN)
Sunday, February 3, 2019

Some scientists say the world is, figuratively, two minutes away from the end. Citing rising threats of nuclear war and a lack of world action against climate change, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has kept the hands of the symbolic Doomsday Clock as close to annihilation as it has ever been since 1953 at the height of the Cold War.


Amy Zegart And Herb Lin: Bytes, Bombs And Spies

interview with Amy Zegart, Herbert Linvia CSPAN
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Hoover Institution fellows Amy Zegart and Herb Lin talk about the use of offensive cyber weapons by the US military.

In the News

Why Cyberwar Is Contributing To A Potential Doomsday

quoting Herbert Linvia Fifth Domain
Friday, January 25, 2019

A wave of new cyberattacks and an increase in information warfare tactics are helping to create an existential threat to humanity, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, who said in their annual report that its Doomsday Clock “is two minutes to midnight.”

In the News

Doomsday Clock Stalls At Two Minutes To Midnight ― But Global Threats Increase

quoting Herbert Linvia Nature
Thursday, January 24, 2019

Heightened tensions between nuclear powers and inaction on climate change are the “new abnormal”, says the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Analysis and Commentary

Bytes, Bombs, And Spies: The Strategic Dimensions Of Offensive Cyber Operations

by Herbert Lin, Amy Zegartvia Lawfare
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Today the Brookings Institution is publishing our edited volume, "Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations." And here is the first introductory chapter, in which we overview the books and its arguments.

Analysis and Commentary

Active Cyber Defense And Interpreting The Computer Fraud And Abuse Act

by Herbert Lin, Gregory Falcovia Lawfare
Friday, December 21, 2018

In the cybersecurity field, the term “active defense” is often used in a variety of ways, referring to any activity undertaken outside the legitimate span of control of an organization being attacked; any non-cooperative, harmful or damaging activity undertaken outside such scope; or any proactive step taken inside or outside that span of control.

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.