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

Blank Section (Placeholder)

Once More unto the Breach

by Herbert Linvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 26, 2018

Recent thefts of credit data show how little power consumers have over their own information. This has to change. 

Analysis and Commentary

Anything New Under The Sun? Nuclear Responses To Cyberattacks

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Friday, January 19, 2018

A recent New York Times story regarding the draft Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) writes that: A newly drafted United States nuclear strategy that has been sent to President Trump for approval would permit the use of nuclear weapons to respond to a wide range of devastating but non-nuclear attacks on American infrastructure, including what current and former government officials described as the most crippling kind of cyberattacks.

Analysis and Commentary

Information Warfare and Cybersecurity Are Different, Related and Important

by Herbert Lin, Paul Rosenzweigvia Lawfare
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Susan Landau pointed last week to a disagreement between the two of us, saying that current definitions of cybersecurity (such as the HSPD-54 that Herb quoted) are outmoded and a new definition is necessary. We agree with Susan, and as we discussed the matter, we find that we are in fact much more in agreement than disagreement. At least part of Susan’s perception that we disagree is understandably rooted in the titles of our respective pieces.

Analysis and Commentary

Election Hacking, As We Understand It Today, Is Not A Cybersecurity Issue

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Friday, January 5, 2018

At a Senate intelligence committee hearing in November on Social Media Influence in the 2016 U.S. Elections, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said about Russian interference in the 2016 election, “What we're talking about is a cataclysmic change. What we're talking about is the beginning of cyber warfare.”

Blank Section (Placeholder)

New Weapons, New Shields

by Herbert Linvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 23, 2017

Emerging trends in the battle to secure our digital frontiers. 

Analysis and Commentary

The Real Threat From Kaspersky Security Software

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal report that Russian government hackers obtained details of U.S. cyber capabilities from the personal computer of a National Security Agency employee who had taken classified material home. He was running Kaspersky antivirus software. Apparently, the compromised secrets could enable the Russian government to thwart U.S. cyber operations, both defensive and offensive.


The Equifax Disaster Points To A Much Bigger Problem

by Herbert Linvia The Washington Post
Thursday, September 21, 2017

In the wake of the hack of credit reporting agency Equifax, many people have suggested that affected consumers implement credit freezes to prevent the misuse of their sensitive personal data. Equifax, which originally tried to charge consumers for this protection, backed down and agreed to provide the service free of charge.

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...