Top positive review
30 people found this helpful
The best introductory book bar none
on December 17, 2001
This book clearly explains the foundation of cryptography, numbers, and the techniques that have emerged to provide modern security technologies. The book starts with Part I, that sets the context by introducing terms and the basics, including ciphers, data encryption standard (DES) and secret keys. The authors did a remarkable job by making complex concepts easy to understand. The next two parts go into more detail about public keys and digital certificates. While these are relatively simple to learn on the surface, the details have always eluded me until I read this book because more papers and books on the subject get too deep into details too fast and assume knowledge of advanced math on the part of the reader. Not so this book - the authors make it easy through clear writing, illustrations that illuminate the textual descriptions and a knack for explaining the complex in simple and easily digestible chunks.
I especially liked Part IV, which covers secure electronic commerce because it covered the full spectrum of technologies and the information is immediately useful to all IT and security professionals. Like in the first three parts of this book I came away with a complete understanding of how everything works.
This book epitomizes clear writing. Moreover, it is simply amazing how much knowledge can be relatively painlessly gained from reading this book. Although I am sure the authors intended to make the inner workings of cryptography accessible to non-security professionals (which they unquestionably accomplished), they also set a standard of excellence in technical writing by producing a book that is, in my opinion, near perfect in its ability to seamlessly use lively prose and well thought out illustrations to convey highly technical information. If you need to learn cryptography but are challenged by the math and the impenetratable writing of other books on the subject, start with this one.