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Modern Cryptography: Theory and Practice [Hardcover]

Wenbo Mao
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 4 2003 0130669431 978-0130669438 1
Many cryptographic schemes and protocols, especially those based on public-keycryptography, have basic or so-called "textbook crypto" versions, as these versionsare usually the subjects for many textbooks on cryptography. This book takes adifferent approach to introducing cryptography: it pays much more attention tofit-for-application aspects of cryptography. It explains why "textbook crypto" isonly good in an ideal world where data are random and bad guys behave nicely.It reveals the general unfitness of "textbook crypto" for the real world by demonstratingnumerous attacks on such schemes, protocols and systems under variousreal-world application scenarios. This book chooses to introduce a set of practicalcryptographic schemes, protocols and systems, many of them standards or de factoones, studies them closely, explains their working principles, discusses their practicalusages, and examines their strong (i.e., fit-for-application) security properties, oftenwith security evidence formally established. The book also includes self-containedtheoretical background material that is the foundation for modern cryptography.

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From the Back Cover

"This book would be a good addition to any cryptographer's bookshelf. The book is self-contained; it presents all the background material to understand an algorithm and all the development to prove its security. I'm not aware of another book that's as complete as this one."

--Christian Paquin, Cryptographic/Security Developer, Silanis Technology Inc. "The book is both complete, and extraordinarily technically accurate. It would certainly be a useful addition to any cryptographer's or crypto-engineer's library."

--Marcus Leech, Advisor, Security Architecture and Planning, Nortel Networks Build more secure crypto systems--and prove their trustworthiness Modern Cryptography is the indispensable resource for every technical professional who needs to implement strong security in real-world applications.

Leading HP security expert Wenbo Mao explains why "textbook" crypto schemes, protocols, and systems are profoundly vulnerable by revealing real-world-scenario attacks. Next, he shows how to realize cryptographic systems and protocols that are truly "fit for application"--and formally demonstrates their fitness. Mao presents practical examples throughout and provides all the mathematical background you'll need.

Coverage includes:

  • Crypto foundations: probability, information theory, computational complexity, number theory, algebraic techniques, and more
  • Authentication: basic techniques and principles vs. misconceptions and consequential attacks
  • Evaluating real-world protocol standards including IPSec, IKE, SSH, TLS (SSL), and Kerberos
  • Designing stronger counterparts to vulnerable "textbook" crypto schemes

Mao introduces formal and reductionist methodologies to prove the "fit-for-application" security of practical encryption, signature, signcryption, and authentication schemes. He gives detailed explanations for zero-knowledge protocols: definition, zero-knowledge properties, equatability vs. simulatability, argument vs. proof, round-efficiency, and non-interactive versions.

About the Author

WENBO MAO, PhD, is a Technical Contributor to the Trusted Systems Lab at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Bristol, UK. Mao leads HP's participation and research activities in Computer Aided Solutions to Secure Electronic Commerce Transactions (CASENET), a research project funded by the European Union. His research interests include cryptography, computer security, and formal methods. He is a member of the International Association for Cryptographic Research (IACR), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the British Computer Society (BCS).

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good reference, poorly edited May 19 2004
What's great about Mao's book is that so many aspects of cryptography are covered in an approachable manner and with many good examples.
What's not so great about Mao's book is that it is chock full of errors. There are many mathematical typos. But what really kills this book for me are the ridiculous number of English mistakes - on average about two or three per page. Most mistakes are simple grammatical mistakes that can be re-parsed by the reader on the fly. However, there are more serious errors that make it very difficult to understand the meaning of significant passages and concepts.
Given Mao's refreshing conversational style it's a real shame that Prentice Hall couldn't come up with some decent editing. Hopefully a second edition will fix this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Sept. 13 2003
Modern Cryptography is by far the best first text on cryptography I've ever seen, blowing books like Applied Cryptography out of the water. It's a clear treatment that focuses on building practical systems, focusing on how to avoid common pitfalls.
The focus of this book is the correct design of cryptographic protocols that resist attack. This is in contrast to books like Applied Cryptography, which focuses on the tools and the building blocks used to construct systems, glossing over how to use those things together to build strong systems. While the innards of block ciphers and so on can be interesting, Schneier himself is prone to saying something along the lines of, "The world is filled with insecure systems built by people who read Applied Cryptography". That is, in order to build secure systems with cryptography, one should understand how to use cryptographic tools properly. We do not need to know how the tools themselves work... we can take it for granted as long as we understand their behavior.
It must be said that the average person shouldn't be designing their own cryptographic protocols, either. One of the things this book does well is demonstrate the large number of non-intuitive ways in which cryptographic protocols can go wrong. For example, the chapters on authentication schemes demonstrate a large number of schemes authored by reputable cryptographers that turned out to have significant weaknesses.
For the above reason, this probably isn't a text that needs to be on everybody's desk. I would say it is essential for anyone who wants to understand why protocol design is so hard, and it is also valuable to the few people who will go on to build new protocols, particularly graduate students in cryptography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book! Jan. 7 2004
Cryptography has been around for a long time but a solid introductory crypto book is hard to find. This is one of the best crypto book I have ever bought. Well worth the investment and I am sure it is a book that I can always go back to if I need to look up something. It has a nice number theory chapter but I wish it could be more in depth(provides more proofs). The chapters on public-key crypto and related crypto.techniques are very well written. This book also covers some nice research result one can only found on some research papers(if one cares to dig). I am very impressed with this book! Not too "dry" nor too "elementary!"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, complete, book on modern cryptography Aug. 6 2003
If you are a cryptography/security student, developer, architect or researcher, you'll find Modern Cryptography very useful. It's a self-contained book describing the mathematical foundation of crypto algorithms/protocols, their textbook versions, their real-world versions, their analysis and real-world attacks. It's difficult to find useful modern cryptographic techniques (e.g. OAEP, ID-based crypto, ZK proofs) not described in the book!
The author really illustrates the difficulty of designing cryptographic protocols. The numerous attack and fix iterations on different protocols showing the subtleties in designing such protocols are very interesting. It's good to have such an analysis in one book instead of 25 research papers.
The book is well written and clear. The item are presented in depth, with many examples. Many parts of the book require a strong mathematical background, but if you can follow the cryptographic literature, you'll be able to understand the author explanations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best of all March 18 2004
By A Customer
Excellent,the best of all modern treatment on this subject,All in one guide.
Not for beginner.Icluded are many new features as ID based,Pairing,Provable security etc.
Nguyen Quoc Nam
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