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Practical Cryptography Paperback – Apr 17 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 17 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471223573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471223573
  • Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #258,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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This book is about security: about how to build secure cryptographic systems. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric Hopper on Dec 10 2003
Format: Paperback
I've read a large number of cryptography books. Very few of them come down to brass tacks. They give you a description of a few algorithms, their strengths and weaknesses, and leave it at that. Either that, or they describe in lovingly complex detail the implementation of a particular protocol, one usually so fraught with options and details that you wonder how, at the end of it, that anybody writes a conforming implementation.
Practical Cryptography does neither of these things. It presents algorithm classes, why they exist, and what the best known algorithms are in each class. It explains how the various strengths and weaknesses of algorithms in each class combine to make a cryptosystem weaker or stronger. Then it goes on to show you how to use that information to build working cryptosystems.
People have complained about the book's seeming schizophrenia. On one hand, the authors are trying to show you how to build a secure cryptosystem. On the other, they're telling you how hopeless a task it is to build one that has no vulnerabilities, even if you're an expert in such things.
This can be annoying, but I more find it refreshing. Writing a secure cryptosystem is very hard. People should be aware that it is hard, and they are likely to make mistakes. It isn't something that should be attempted lightly. The current state of computer security is depressingly abysmal. People should be encouraged, as much as possible, to not contribute to the problem.
I'm not following my own advice, and I am building a new cryptosystem. I have found this book a more valuable resource than any other book on cryptography that I have yet read. Even if you aren't building your own cryptosystem, I think you will find the insights this book has into complexity and design to be useful tools in evaluating other cryptosystems.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Nov. 13 2003
Format: Paperback
If Bruce Schneier has acquired a habit, it is the ability to take the same old material and rehash it into different books, year after year. My guess is that, next year, he'll use another slightly different angle and try to sell you the same basic information. What you need to do, as a consumer, is step back and see this book for what it is: supplemental income and marketing for Bruce Schneier.
Years ago, Bruce was laid off from AT&T Bell Labs. Since then, Bruce has been using rubes like you to augment his salary. Let's face it; if Bruce were a Ken Thompson or a Claude Shannon, he'd probably still have his job at Bell Labs. But he isn't. Instead he wrote a book and touted himself as an expert to an industry of people who didn't know any better.
What I find truly onerous about his books is the condescending tone that Schneier adopts when addressing the reader. It's if he's saying "I am so much more elite than you, I can't even begin to tell you." I agree with previous reviewers, I was a little put off by the fact that he recommends you hire an expert to implement a cryptosystem. Hire an expert? Then why in god's name should we buy the book? Entertainment value? Please, do tell Bruce, we're all waiting to hear why you made us waste $20.00. Did you buy a new sports car?
Recently I spoke with a PhD, from Brown, who performed decades of research in number theory. He recommended "Cryptography in C and C++," by Michael Welschenbach. He also said "I don't know why people think Applied Cryptography is such a good book. He [Schneier] doesn't seem to understand the mathematics very well." Pick up Applied Cryptography sometime and compare it side-by-side with Welschenbach's book. You'll see what that PhD was talking about.
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Format: Paperback
Classic books are often by definition, boring. Moby Dick is an American classic, and an insomniacs delight. Similarly, Bruce Schneier's Applied Cryptography is the definitive book on cryptography, but is far too complex and mathematical for most readers.
With that, Practical Cryptography is a superb text for anyone needing to know the core details of cryptography, but don't want to be bogged down with theoretical and abstract cryptographic ideas.
Where Applied Cryptography is a reference, Practical Cryptography is meant to be a narrative. The book follows the design of a secure cryptographic system from its algorithm selection, design philosophy, analysis, debugging and implementation.
The implementation aspect is crucial, as while there are many books available on the theory of cryptography, there is amazingly little about its practical implementation. While Practical Cryptography is a much easier read than Applied Cryptography, it is primarily geared for the applications
While Practical Cryptography is not as technical as its older brother Applied Cryptography, it is still not a For Dummies type of book. The average reader will likely find most of the book far too abstract for their needs. But for those that are looking for a practical and usable book about implementing cryptography, this is the definitive reference.
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Format: Paperback
The combination Schneier - Ferguson invites to travel the basic aspects of the cryptography and inclusive it proposes the best queries of what one has learned and we should learn on this process.
In the personal thing the chapter 6: Work Hash; the chapter 7: MAC; the chapter 14 referred to the cryptographic protocols; the chapters 19 and 20 referred to PKI consider they are excellent. They have a quite practical point of view, realist, didactic and very realistic overalls.
I consider that the mathematical aspect has been covered with the space that deserves.
Very good decision of publishing a book more about applied cryptography and in that sense my recommendations to the book.
Congratulations.
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