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Decrypted Secrets: Methods and Maxims of Cryptology 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-3540604181
ISBN-10: 3540604189
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Editorial Reviews


"the best single book on cryptology today" David Kahn, author of the classic, "The Codebreakers"

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1 edition (October 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3540604189
  • ISBN-13: 978-3540604181
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,115,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Victor A. Vyssotsky on March 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book, and relatively inexpensive; Springer-Verlag has done it again.
Rather than being a dry recitation of encryption and cryptanalysis schemes, Bauer provides a great deal of information about what actually goes wrong when one tries to construct a cipher that must be used under pressure by non-cryptologists, with plenty of historical examples to illustrate his points. And he discusses at some length the ways in which cryptanalysts can hope to unravel ciphers and codes too strong to be broken by standard methods. Much of what he has to say I had never seen in print before; some of it was brand new to me. Perhaps it helps that Bauer is German, and doesn't have to write with the uneasy feeling that NSA or MI-6 is looking over his shoulder at every line he writes. For example, his explanation of how Robert Murphy compromised an American cipher in WW II so badly that the Germans could read it easily is one that I think some American officials would probably still prefer not to have in print.
Despite comments by other reviewers and by Cryptologia, I think it requires a certain mathematical sophistication to absorb much of the material in this book. The math is not hard, but Bauer implicitly assumes a mathematical mindset and a familiarity with the terminology of pure mathematics that most college undergraduates don't have. So I wouldn't choose it as the primary text for a first course in cryptology, but I would certainly use it as a supplementary text. I know of no other book that contains so much material on the practical realities of cryptology.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is the best book I have found so far on mathematical cryptology. Although the author does a fairly sketchy treatment of DES and IDEA compared to some other books out there, I feel that he makes up for it by placing all of the most common cryptographic systems in the context of a coherent and rigorous mathematical framework. Many other cryptology books fail to tie all the various cryptographic methods together using the powerful tools of modern mathematics. Dr. Bauer's text however, leaves no question in the student's mind where all the techniques fit into the theoretical framework. The second half of the book is also a pleasant surprise: a very readable but mathematically rigorous explanation of cryptanalysis. The author presents a number of statistical methods of attack that are difficult to find all in one place in the open literature. Dr. Bauer does a thorough job of explaining and augments the theory with many examples. This thorough treatment of cryptanalysis distinguishes his book from many other books on cryptology. Many authors of cryptology books pay lip-service to Kerckhoff's maxim (Only a cryptanalyst can judge the security of a crypto system.) but few bring the student enough cryptanalytic knowledge to even begin to evaluate the crypto systems presented in their books. Dr. Bauer does an excellent job of balancing cryptography with cryptanalysis. I highly recommend this book for any serious student of Cryptology. It is a real gem.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book in the original German (even though reading in German is still a labor for me), and the effort was amply rewarded. This book is a first course in cryptography, at the upper undergraduate or beginning graduate level. Its competition would be books like Denning's or Beker and Piper or Koblitz' series. Denning's book is still great and worth buying (and Ms. Denning is a wonderful, accomplished, and intelligent person), but Bauer is more modern and complete. Koblitz' books are all first rate, but Bauer stays on the task of cryptology much more exactly and usefully. This is the basis of an excellent course in several German universities, especially in Munich. If I taught another course purely on cryptography (and not as part of a larger math curriculum---where Koblitz' book is best), I would certainly use this as the text. However, even though this is best, I really think everyone should still buy, read, and treasure Ms. Denning's book, Cryptology, too. (A true classic is never actually superseded.) Buy Bauer. It is better than an existing classic. While I don't have the English version yet, and cannot, therefore, vouch for the quality of the translation, I think that Springer Verlag is such a reliable editor that we can both trust that the translation will be good before we even see it.
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By A Customer on February 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book makes a good technical companion to Kahn's historic treatment in 'The Code Breakers'. It covers the technology up through the advent of computers. Its treatment is technical, going into details about how an encryption technique is performed, and how it is attacked. This book is the first place where I've seen the Enigma machine described in enough detail to understand how it works (or they worked since there were many variations and many of them are discussed here), and how to actually build (or simulate) one. It's a big book, and I carried it around for months, sometimes just diving into a chapter or topic. I loved it.
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