- Series: Spring/Summer 15
- Paperback: 758 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 2nd edition (October 18, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471117099
- ISBN-13: 978-0471117094
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 157 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #626,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C 2nd Edition
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Cryptographic techniques have applications far beyond the obvious uses of encoding and decoding information. For Internet developers who need to know about capabilities, such as digital signatures, that depend on cryptographic techniques, there's no better overview than Applied Cryptography, the definitive book on the subject. Bruce Schneier covers general classes of cryptographic protocols and then specific techniques, detailing the inner workings of real-world cryptographic algorithms including the Data Encryption Standard and RSA public-key cryptosystems. The book includes source-code listings and extensive advice on the practical aspects of cryptography implementation, such as the importance of generating truly random numbers and of keeping keys secure.
"the definitive publicly available text on the theory and practice of cryptography" (Computer Shopper, January 2002)
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The real value of Applied Cryptography is the fundamental understanding (and interest, in my case) it helps to build. Intros to terminology, theory, practical implementations, attack models, and protocol weaknesses are outlined here in great detail. I can honestly say that this book - along with lots of openssl / gnupg tinkering - have put a functional (for my sysadmin purposes) cryptography foundation within my grasp.
NB: this book is old enough that it pays to shop around for a used copy in good condition.
Throughout the book Schneier manages to include current references to the inevitable political and legal issues. These references are discussed in an engaging manner and without letting them hog the spotlight. On the other hand, in a fast-moving field like cryptography, they are beginning to get a bit long in the tooth. The book was originally published in 1996 and many of the remarks are noticeably dated (though, perhaps, historically interesting).
Printings before the fifth are also riddled with errors. Fortunately, good errata are available at Schneier's website. They are essential: if you find yourself thinking "That can't be right", it probably isn't.
Read this book first. Without some college level mathematics you may have to skim some of the chapters; still, you can probably curl up on your couch and read it cover to cover. If, afterwards, you get hooked into following up with Stinson's "Cryptograpy", or Menezes "Handbook of Applied Cryptography", don't say I didn't warn you!