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Understanding Cryptography: A Textbook for Students and Practitioners Hardcover – July 22, 2010

38 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-3642041006 ISBN-10: 3642041000 Edition: 1st ed. 2010

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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

"The authors have succeeded in creating a highly valuable introduction to the subject of applied cryptography. I hope that it can serve as a guide for practitioners to build more secure systems based on cryptography, and as a stepping stone for future researchers to explore the exciting world of cryptography and its applications." (Bart Preneel, K.U.Leuven)

"The material is very well presented so it is clear to understand. The necessary amount of mathematics is used and complete yet simple examples are used by the authors to help the reader understand the topics. ... [The authors] appear to fully understand the concepts and follow a very good pedagogical process that helps the reader not only understand the different topics but motivate you to perform some of the exercises at the end of each chapter and browse some of the reference materials. I fully recommend this book to any software developer/designer working or considering working on a project that requires security." (John Canessa)

“The book presents a panoramic of modern Cryptography with a view to practical applications. … The book is well written, many examples and figures through it illustrate the theory and the book’s website offers links and supplementary information. The book also discusses the implementation in software and hardware of the main algorithms described.” (Juan Tena Ayuso, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1190, 2010)

About the Author

Christof Paar has the Chair for Embedded Security at the University of Bochum, Germany, and is Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA. Prof. Paar has taught cryptography for 15 years to engineering and computer science students in the US and in Europe, and he has taught many industrial practitioners at organizations such as Motorola, Philips and NASA. He has more than 100 publications in applied cryptography and is a cofounder of the Workshop on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems (CHES), the key academic event in this field.

Jan Pelzl is Managing Director of escrypt – Embedded Security, a leading security consultancy company. Dr. Pelzl has successfully run many international industrial projects, and he has a deep insight into security needs in the real world. He has a Ph.D. in applied cryptography, and as a researcher he investigated the practical aspects of elliptic-curve-based cryptography and cryptanalysis. He has published extensively about his theoretical and industrial work through leading international conferences and journals, and he has taught many IT security and cryptography courses in industry.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1st ed. 2010 edition (July 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3642041000
  • ISBN-13: 978-3642041006
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Maor on July 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It is a summer tradition for me to pick a technical topic, find a textbook that represents the subject from an introductory point of view, and self-study as much of it as I can. This summer, I picked cryptography. After searching all over the place for a decent introductory book on the subject, I stumbled upon this one. Even though it only had 2 reviews at the time, I could tell that it was exactly what I was looking for. After reading the first 6 chapters of this book, all I can say is this: WOW!

Cryptography lies at the intersection of mathematics, computer science, and electrical engineering. This book borrows ideas from all 3 fields in order to describe the core ideas of cryptography in a surprisingly elegant way. The tone of the book is formal enough so that the book isn't disorganized or overly verbose, but not too formal that it makes the readings a chore.

As stated above, the content of the book is highly organized. The first 5 chapters deal with symmetric algorithms, and the next 5 or so deal with asymmetric algorithms. The last few chapters deal with hash functions and message authentication algorithms. In between highly-technical sections, you will find informal topics that are concerned with general security topics, history, or similar subjects. These sections are a wonderful break from the technical ones, and make this highly technical book read somewhat like a novel.

The figures in this book are wonderful, and really help the reader understand the encryption algorithms more fully. For example, the DES algorithm is somewhat convoluted, but the figures in the chapter make it very simple to see exactly what is happening at each stage of the process. Every permutation, bit slicing operation, and XOR operation is clearly evident from the flow diagrams.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey P. Goldberg on June 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you've heard people mention things like ECC, HMACs, discrete logarithms and wanted to what they were talking about; or if you wanted to understand who RSA and AES really work along with many other things, then this is the book for you.

I had been hunting for something more current than the 1996 Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C, Second Edition when I came across Understanding Cryptography. I could tell from the available samples and the table of contents, that it should meet my needs. It has not only met my needs, but has exceeded them in every respect.

This book was absolutely perfect for me, so it would be of some use for you to know my background.
I've long had an interest in cryptography but never any training. When I read Martin Gardener's famous 1977 article on RSA I thought it was the coolest thing ever, but I didn't fully grasp it and didn't pursue it at the time. In college I studied some math, but my degree is in linguistics, not in math or computing. I have read popularizations of cryptography, and had tried to make it though Applied Cryptography when it first came out in 1996, but I can't say that I really understood how the algorithms and the more intricate protocols worked. So that is roughly my background.

One of the great things about Understanding Cryptography is that it taught me exactly the math that I needed. You need to be comfortable learning new math. (I also found that I had to brush up on basic linear algebra on my own to understand one component of the deals of AES).

Working though this book on my own through self study took time.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mike G. on September 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came across this book on accident. I was googling around for articles by Preneel and found this book, in which he wrote the foreword. Frankly, I hope this book eventually replaces most, if not all of the mainstream texts on cryptography. My only complaint about this book is that I no longer feel like one of the rare geniuses that thoroughly and completely understands cryptography. Thanks to this book, any dummy off the street can understand cryptography nearly as well as I do and they do not need a computer science or math degree. No prerequisite knowledge is required, other than the ability to read but there is plenty of math if you want to study it. (Warning: I might be exaggerating a little. I really enjoy math and might be taking my math skills for granted. Just so I am clear, this is a Math textbook, which means the encryption algorithms are formally defined using math notation. However, the author's explanation of the math & algorithms is the most clear and easy to understand I have ever seen; which to me means, you do not need a strong background in mathematics to understand this material.)

The following categories are scored 1-10. 1 being the lowest, through 10, the highest...

- Readability (i.e. authors style of writing, is he to the point, write clear, how does he approach the topic, does he motivate, etc...)
Score: 10
I personally do not care for analogies in cryptography books. If the author knows what he is talking about and can explain it, there is absolutely no need for stupid analogies. Another thing that drives me crazy is authors that "challenge you to think" too much. They can never get to the point and come right out and tell you something.
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