Cover: Bytes, Bombs, and Spies


Bytes, Bombs, and Spies

The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations

Herbert Lin, Amy Zegart
Release Date: January 15, 2019

Offensive cyber operations have become increasingly important elements of U.S. national security policy. From the deployment of Stuxnet to disrupt Iranian centrifuges to the possible use of cyber methods against North Korean ballistic missile launches, the prominence of offensive cyber capabilities as instruments of national power continues to grow. Yet conceptual thinking lags behind the technical development of these new weapons. How might offensive cyber operations be used in coercion or conflict? What strategic considerations should guide their development and use? What intelligence capabilities are required for cyber weapons to be effective? How do escalation dynamics and deterrence work in cyberspace? What role does the private sector play?

In this volume, edited by Herbert Lin and Amy Zegart—co-directors of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program—leading scholars and practitioners explore these and other vital questions about the strategic uses of offensive cyber operations. The contributions to this groundbreaking volume address the key technical, political, psychological, and legal dimensions of the fast-changing strategic landscape.

“Policy makers rejoice! You finally have an approachable guide through the cyber quagmire.”
—Lieutenant Brandon Karpf, U.S. Navy, Proceedings

“Overall, this is a collection of well-written contributions on pertinent topics with some of the chapters having been published in whole or in part prior to the creation of the collection. The issues are timely and important, and Bytes, Bombs, and Spies should be read by anyone interested in the concepts of cyber warfare.”—Dr. George M. Moore, The Cipher Brief


Dr. Herb Lin is senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and Hank J. Holland Fellow in Cyber Policy and Security at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University.

Amy Zegart is a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies (FSI), professor of political science (by courtesy) at Stanford University, and a contributing editor to The Atlantic. She is also the Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, where she directs the Robert and Marion Oster National Security Affairs Fellows program. She is founder and co-director of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program.

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