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

Coronavirus Blues: The Detrimental Mental Health Effects Of Prolonged Lockdowns And Uncertainty Require Attention

by Herbert Linvia National Interest
Saturday, October 17, 2020

Even if effective treatments and vaccines for coronavirus become available soon, we must start thinking about the mental health dimensions of national recovery.

In the News

Disinformation Has Neighbors Fighting In Small-Town America

quoting Herbert Linvia Bloomberg Businessweek
Friday, October 9, 2020

The battle lines in Milford, Mich., reflect the nation’s divisions.

Analysis and Commentary

The COVID-19 Infodemic: What Can Be Done About The Infectious Spread Of Misinformation And Disinformation

by Herbert Lin, Harold Trinkunasvia The Bulletin
Thursday, September 10, 2020

Almost since its first emergence, the spreading SARS-CoV-2 outbreak has also been accompanied by a widespread proliferation of misinformation and disinformation, what the World Health Organization (WHO) described as “a massive ‘infodemic’—an over-abundance of information … that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.”


Herbert Lin: What Do The Doomsday Clock And The Presidential Election Have In Common?

interview with Herbert Linvia WNPR
Friday, August 21, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Herb Lin talks about the Doomsday Clock and tells us how close we are to midnight, which is to say, human annihilation.

Analysis and Commentary

How Might The Sleeper Agents From “The Americans” Interfere In The Election?

by Herbert Lin, Steven Webervia Lawfare
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

As the November 2020 presidential election approaches, it is worth imagining how a foreign adversary might attempt to intervene in the domestic political process. We have no evidence that any of the precise things we consider in this essay are actually happening—though some may well be. They are based on a review of what we know to be possible and plausible given what has occurred in the past and the vulnerabilities we can see clearly today. 

Analysis and Commentary

Doctrinal Confusion And Cultural Dysfunction In DoD

by Herbert Linvia Cyber Defense Review
Friday, July 31, 2020
The doctrinal history of information operations, cyber operations, and psycholog- ical operations within DoD is tangled and confused. Moreover, those military specialties rank lower in the DoD pecking order, and those with such special- ties are accorded less respect than those specializing in traditional combat arts.
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.”