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

Analysis and Commentary

The Geopolitical Ramifications Of Starlink Internet Service?

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Starlink is a space-based internet service provider that seeks to provide high-speed (40 mbps upload, 100 mbps download ), near-global coverage of the populated world by 2021—bringing this service to locations where access previously has been unreliable, expensive or completely unavailable.

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Jacquelyn Schneider And Herb Lin: Cyber Power And Peril In The Post-COVID World | Hoover Virtual Policy Briefing

interview with Herbert Lin, Jacquelyn Schneidervia Hoover Podcasts
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Jacquelyn Schneider And Herb Lin discuss Cyber Power And Peril In the Post-COVID World.

Jacquelyn Schneider and Herb Lin: Cyber Power and Peril in the Post-Covid World

interview with Jacquelyn Schneider, Herbert Linvia Hoover Virtual Policy Briefings
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

A Hoover Virtual Policy Briefing with Jacquelyn Schneider and Herb Lin: Cyber Power and Peril in the Post-Covid World
Tuesay, June 2, 2020 at 11AM PT/ 2PM ET.

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Cybersecurity Lessons From The Pandemic, Or Pandemic Lessons From Cybersecurity

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Fred Cohen was the first person to introduce the term “computer virus.” In a 1984 paper, he defined it as “a program that can ‘infect’ other programs by modifying them to include a possibly evolved copy of itself. With the infection property, a virus can spread throughout a computer system or network using the authorizations of every user using it to infect their programs. Every program that gets infected may also act as a virus and thus the infection grows.” 

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Developing Coronavirus Vaccines And Treatments Cooperatively And Not Competitively

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

On May 13, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a public service announcement to raise awareness of the threat of foreign actor “theft” of COVID-19-related research. 

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The House Of Representatives Needs An Audit System For Not-In-Person Voting

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Friday, April 17, 2020

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that the House could soon approve a change to its rules to allow for an alternative to in-person voting, as the COVID-19 pandemic has kept or will keep many representatives away from Washington DC as they observe shelter-in-place procedures. 

Analysis and CommentaryNational Security

Doctrinal Confusion And Cultural Dysfunction In The Pentagon Over Information And Cyber Operations

by Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Friday, March 27, 2020

In a Lawfare post earlier this year, I questioned the wisdom of referring to cyber operations as psychological operations. These campaigns are the bread and butter of U.S. Cyber Command’s operational activities. My interest in this question stemmed from two recent articles, one on NPR and one in the Washington Post. 

Analysis and Commentary

‘Just Say No’ Is Not A Strategy For Supply Chain Security

by David Forscey, Herbert Linvia Lawfare
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

On Feb. 12, White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien announced that the U.S. government has “evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world.” This represents the latest attempt by the Trump administration to support an argument that allied governments—and the businesses they oversee—should purge certain telecommunications networks of Huawei equipment. 

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Forget Stimulus Checks. Send Prepaid Cards Instead.

by Herbert Linvia The Washington Post
Friday, March 20, 2020

The administration and members of Congress have proposed giving Americans a significant amount of cash to stimulate the economy, such as a check for $1,000 or more to every American adult.


Three Tweets to Midnight: Effects of the Global Information Ecosystem on the Risk of Nuclear Conflict

via Hoover Institution Press
Sunday, March 15, 2020

A multifaceted examination of the role of the current global information ecosystem on decision making and crisis stability, particularly among nuclear states.