Herbert Lin

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

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

Interviews

The Nation’s Last Line Of Defense Is Controlled By Really, Really Old Technology

interview with Herbert Linvia Federal News Network
Friday, October 22, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Herb Lin discusses the vulnerability of the technology that controls nuclear weapons.

Analysis and Commentary

A Hypothetical Command Vision Statement For A Fictional PLA Cyber Command

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Friday, October 22, 2021

In 2018, U.S. Cyber Command (USCC) released its Command Vision statement for the organization, advancing officially for the first time “defend forward” and “persistent engagement” as new elements in the United States’ approach to advancing its security interests in and through cyberspace. Since then, much debate has ensued about the pros and cons of these concepts. 

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Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons

by Herbert Linvia Stanford University Press
Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The technology controlling United States nuclear weapons predates the Internet. Updating the technology for the digital era is necessary, but it comes with the risk that anything digital can be hacked. Moreover, using new systems for both nuclear and non-nuclear operations will lead to levels of nuclear risk hardly imagined before. This book is the first to confront these risks comprehensively.

Featured

The Fourth Quadrant—The Unknown Knowns

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Friday, July 9, 2021

With the recent passing of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, it’s worth revisiting one of his most famous commentaries.

Featured

Cyber Risk Across The U.S. Nuclear Enterprise

by Herbert Linvia Texas National Security Review
Monday, June 21, 2021

As the United States embarks on an effort to modernize many elements of its nuclear enterprise, it needs to consider how dependencies on modern information technologies could lead to cyber-induced failures of nuclear deterrence or to nuclear war. The Biden administration has an opportunity to address issues of cyber risk across the entire nuclear enterprise in ways that previous administrations have not.

Policy InsightsFeatured

Cybersecurity

featuring Jacquelyn Schneider, Amy Zegart, H. R. McMaster, Herbert Lin, Tom Churchvia PolicyEd
Thursday, May 27, 2021

From pipeline hacks leading to gasoline shortages to disinformation campaigns during elections, cyberattacks are becoming a more frequent source of disruption in people’s lives. Finding the right responses to these attacks isn’t obvious. Can we take lessons from traditional warfare, or do cyberattacks demand an entirely different response?

In the News

DHS Cyber Order Signals Shift To ‘Mandatory Measures’

quoting Herbert Linvia Breaking Defense
Thursday, May 27, 2021

Today's pipeline directive is likely just the next in a series of actions to shore up national cybersecurity across the private sector, especially those deemed critical infrastructure. "I know there are a number of discussions on the Hill... of a broader data breach notification," Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger said today.

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: How Secure Is U.S. Cybersecurity?

interview with Herbert Linvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The challenges of cybersecurity and the efficacy of the “cyber” component of national security as the U.S. looks to update and modernize its nuclear arsenal.

Cybersecurity

by Daniel Heil featuring the work of Jacquelyn Schneider, Amy Zegart, H. R. McMaster, Herbert Lin, Tom Churchvia Policy Insights | A Succinct Guide to Important Policy Questions
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

From pipeline hacks leading to gasoline shortages to disinformation campaigns during elections, cyberattacks are becoming a more frequent source of disruption in people’s lives. Finding the right responses to these attacks isn’t obvious. Can we take lessons from traditional warfare, or do cyberattacks demand an entirely different response?

In the News

Congressional Testimony: How The Pentagon Can Fight Information Warfare

featuring Herbert Linvia The Bulletin
Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Herb Lin, a cybersecurity expert and a member of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board, told a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee last week that foreign disinformation campaigns are one form of what he characterized as an existential threat to US society and democracy: cyber-enabled information warfare. The Pentagon, however, is, Lin suggested, poorly positioned to protect the public from the threat.

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