# Book Review: Everyday Cryptography

#### samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

56
benrothke writes *"When Bruce Schneier first published Applied Cryptography in 1994, it was a watershed event, given that is was one of the first comprehensive texts on the topic that existed outside of the military. In the nearly 20 years since the book came out, a lot has changed in the world of encryption and cryptography. A number of books have been written to fill that gap and Everyday Cryptography: Fundamental Principles and Applications is one of them. While the title may give the impression that this is an introductory text; that is not the case. Author Keith Martin is the director of the information security group at Royal Holloway, a division of the University of London, and the book is meant for information security professionals in addition to being used as a main reference for a principles of cryptography course. The book is also a great reference for those studying for the CISSP exam."* Read below for the rest of Ben's review.While the book notes that almost no prior knowledge of mathematics is required since the book deliberately avoids the details of the mathematical techniques underpinning cryptographic mechanisms. That might be a bit of a misnomer as the book does get into the mathematics of cryptography. While the mathematics in the book is not overwhelming, they are certainly not underwhelming. For those that want a deeper look, the book includes an appendix for many of the mathematical concepts detailed in the book.

Two benefits of the book are that it stresses practical aspects of cryptography and real-world scenarios. The mathematics detailed avoids number throaty with a focus on practicability. It also shows how cryptography is used as the underlying technology behind information security, rather than simply focusing on the abstracts of the potential of cryptography.

With that, the books 13 (made up of 4 parts) chapters provide a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice around all as aspects of contemporary cryptography. Each of the chapters end with a summary, detailed lists of items for further reading, and sets of penetration questions that challenge the reader. Readers are advised to spend time on these questions as it is often easy for the reader to feel that they understand the material. The questions can quickly humble the reader and show them that it may not be the case.

Part 1 is titled Setting the Scene and provides a comprehensive introduction to the fundamental of cryptography. Chapter 1 (freely available here) details the basic principles about cryptography and provides a high-level introduction.

Chapter 2 provides a good overview of the history of cryptography. It details a number of obsolete, yet historically relevant ciphers, such as the Vigenère cipher from the 1500's, to the Playfair cipher from the mid-1800's and others. Martin provides a good overview of the cryptanalysis of the Vigenère cipher and lessons learned from it.

Chapters 4-9 comprise part 2, and provide a thorough overview of the various forms of encryption (symmetric and asymmetric) and digital signatures. This section gets into some of the deeper mathematics of cryptography. While the author states that almost no prior knowledge of mathematics is needed; those without a background will surely be confused by some of the material.

Chapter 7 closes with a good overview of the relationship between digital signatures and handwritten signatures. The author notes the importance of resisting any temptation to consider digital signatures as a direct electronic equivalent of handwritten signatures. He then provides a detailed outline of the environmental, security, practical and flexibility differences between them.

Key management is one of the most important aspects of cryptography and often the most difficult to execute on. Part of the difficulty around key management is at the user level, with key updates, passphrase management and more. Ultimately, effective key management is essential to the underlying security of the crypto system. The 2 chapters in part 3 provide a thorough synopsis of the fundamentals of key management.

Part 4 closes the book with two chapters on practical cryptographic applications. Chapter 12 details how cryptography can be used on the internet, secure payment cards, video broadcasting and more.

The book concludes with an appendix on the mathematics of cryptography, which takes a look at the basic mathematical concepts the underlie some of the material in the book.

This book is not for the fainthearted and is not an introductory text on the topic. It is meant for the advanced reader or someone taking a college level course. For such a reader serious about a significant overview of the essentials on the topic,

*Everyday Cryptography: Fundamental Principles and Applications*is an excellent reference.

Ben Rothke is the author of Computer Security: 20 Things Every Employee Should Know.

You can purchase

*Everyday Cryptography: Fundamental Principles and Applications*from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

## Frist Psot (-1)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41661135)

Frist Psot

## Re:Frist Psot (-1, Offtopic)

## Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661263)

Frist Psot

How do you decode that?

## Re:Frist Psot (1)

## Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year and a half ago | (#41662049)

It's a simple three way substitution cipher.

F maps to I. r maps to a. i maps to m. Advance the next key, s now maps to a. t amps to m. P maps to o. Advance the next key. s maps to r. o maps back to o (tricky!) and t maps to n.

## Everyday book reviewing (1)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41661149)

While the book notes that almost no prior knowledge of mathematics is required since the book deliberately avoids the details of the mathematical techniques underpinning cryptographic mechanisms. That might be a bit of a misnomer as the book does get into the mathematics of cryptographyWhile the review makes no claim as to the reviewer's grasp of the English language. That might be a blatantly obvious conclusion as it is nigh unreadable.

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (1)

## HairyNevus (992803) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661201)

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41661371)

Trim yer EARS!!! Trim 'EM!!!

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41661361)

What shocked me is that the review's author is also a book author himself... I guess someone has to keep the copy editors busy.

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (1)

## rubikscubejunkie (2664793) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661603)

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (1)

## localman57 (1340533) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661727)

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (1)

## rubikscubejunkie (2664793) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661913)

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41662403)

it's been cross-posted [rsaconference.com] and advertised on the reviewer's twitter account.

the review really is a shameful piece of work and it's not just spelling and grammar. he gives

no solid reason whatsoeverwhy this book is better (or even significantly different from) the 1996 edition ofapplied cryptography, which he mentions in the introduction. here are the topics he presents: historical ciphers; modern symmetric/asymmetric encryption; key management; and a few applications shoved into the last chapter.apart from the applications, none of these things have fundamentally changed since 1996. sure, the book might have more up-to-date details but, oh, that's right, the review doesn't mention it either way. there are supposedly-difficult (note: this is completely subjective) questions, and some "mathematics" in an appendix (not a good sign). there is no comment on technical details at all.

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41662867)

>>>>shameful

shameful? a little overdramatic...no?

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41664195)

no. if i were a published writer, i would feel rightly ashamed of writing this piece of drek "review." i can only imagine what his book is like.

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (2)

## jeffmeden (135043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41662951)

it's been cross-posted [rsaconference.com] and advertised on the reviewer's twitter account.

the review really is a shameful piece of work and it's not just spelling and grammar. he gives

no solid reason whatsoeverwhy this book is better (or even significantly different from) the 1996 edition ofapplied cryptography, which he mentions in the introduction. here are the topics he presents: historical ciphers; modern symmetric/asymmetric encryption; key management; and a few applications shoved into the last chapter.apart from the applications, none of these things have fundamentally changed since 1996. sure, the book might have more up-to-date details but, oh, that's right, the review doesn't mention it either way. there are supposedly-difficult (note: this is completely subjective) questions, and some "mathematics" in an appendix (not a good sign). there is no comment on technical details at all.

And never mind the similarity between this and the Schneier book Practical Cryptography (which would seem like a much more relevant comparison...)

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (3, Insightful)

## Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661583)

Seriously, this review reads like something I might have written in middle school. All the sentences are short and factual with abrupt endings and poor transitions, composed into overly short paragraphs. It's more like the outline notes for a review than a review itself. In fact, I think it might be, since there isn't any actual "review" at all, just a list of "he says

xat pointy."And I'm not even going to touch the "number throaty" he appears to be glad the author avoided.

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (3, Funny)

## localman57 (1340533) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661759)

Want to find out if the cryptanalysts ever broke Vigenère's cipher? Then read the book!

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (2)

## clintp (5169) | about a year and a half ago | (#41662713)

If he had written it in middle school, it would have ended:

Want to find out if the cryptanalysts ever broke Vigenère's cipher? Then read the book!

"Cryptography is a land of contrasts."

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41661795)

And a new Internet meme is born.

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41663413)

Your book report should include:

- for whom the book is written

- two benefits of the book

- a one or two sentence summary of each chapter

- a concluding statement

## Re:Everyday book reviewing (2)

## Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666393)

While the book notes that almost no prior knowledge of mathematics is required since the book deliberately avoids the details of the mathematical techniques underpinning cryptographic mechanisms. That might be a bit of a misnomer as the book does get into the mathematics of cryptographyWhile the review makes no claim as to the reviewer's grasp of the English language. That might be a blatantly obvious conclusion as it is nigh unreadable.

No he's just demonstrating how something can be encrypted without mathematics

## The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (1)

## neminem (561346) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661239)

What the frack does that even mean?

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (3, Informative)

## crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661277)

It means he should have gotten a third party to help proof his review.

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (2)

## jeffmeden (135043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661409)

It means he should have gotten a third party to help proof his review.

Ben Rothke is the author of Computer Security: 20 Things Every Employee Should Know.You would think he would know one or two...

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (3, Interesting)

## localman57 (1340533) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661635)

One can read this book in a short time, and I think doing so is a good idea for those of us who use computers, especially at work. ”

This is a great book to give to every corporate user who quickly needs to come up to seeped on what they need to do.

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (1)

## rubikscubejunkie (2664793) | about a year and a half ago | (#41662133)

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (1)

## localman57 (1340533) | about a year and a half ago | (#41662397)

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41662905)

goes to show that online book reviews don't do a good job of spell checking.

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (1)

## rubikscubejunkie (2664793) | about a year and a half ago | (#41667791)

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (2)

## IamTheRealMike (537420) | about a year and a half ago | (#41663581)

OMG. Undoing moderation in this thread to post more gems from those reviews:

## Best guess on "throaty" (2)

## Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661425)

## Re:Best guess on "throaty" (1)

## Stavr0 (35032) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661733)

"Damn you autocorrect!"

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (1)

## Stavr0 (35032) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661465)

Motormouthing?

Verbiage?

In any case, 'some strange usage of the word "throaty" that I wasn't previously aware of'.

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (1)

## rubikscubejunkie (2664793) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661537)

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41662919)

It could be a number recently discovered that exists between the number thirty and forty but mathematicians are not quite sure where it fits yet and cryptographers refuse to acknowledge until that has been determined. I'm sure that's it.

## Re:The mathematics avoids number throaty?? (2)

## N Monkey (313423) | about a year and a half ago | (#41666303)

The mathematics avoids number throaty??What the frack does that even mean?

It means that the mathematics isn't too deep. 8P

## Packt! (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41661259)

But how does this apply to Drupal and/or Drush?

## Pffft (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41661387)

What a boring and niche topic. Write about something important like Drupal. I'll wait for him to write 'Everyday Drupal' book and then I'll care.

## Re:Pffft (1)

## rubikscubejunkie (2664793) | about a year and a half ago | (#41661649)

## Re:Pffft (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41661921)

*facepalm*

Are you really so daft?

## Spoiler Alert (2, Funny)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41661441)

Some examples of "Everyday Cryptography":

C24ECA6EBF46867514A111761CC08 - compare at $3.88!

E589967E4C2CCFA1888AD29C16CB - compare at $4.77!

1904ECB28EF98C7FB11715226452E - compare at $2.93!

F7B098C3998C58B36D9ABE8DB653 - compare at $4.13!

8C9721A45F3FB355DCB56F2EED86 - compare at $6.32!

## Re:Spoiler Alert (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41661671)

ROFLMAO! Thanks! I needed that...

## You know you want to decode it (2)

## Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year and a half ago | (#41662137)

Message: bka mtn lke lwp hga me

Key: pfrbeoxqasthnmlyjkigdwcvzu

## Re:You know you want to decode it (1)

## localman57 (1340533) | about a year and a half ago | (#41662417)

## Re:You know you want to decode it (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41662839)

it means you've found the REAL cyphertext...

## Re:You know you want to decode it (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41662883)

## Re:You know you want to decode it (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41662939)

I was going to mock the guy, but I wasn't going to assume an American Christian.

However, it's the second thing Google finds with just "be sure". That deserves mocking.

## Re:You know you want to decode it (1)

## retchdog (1319261) | about a year and a half ago | (#41665685)

a christmas storyis an almost, if not completely, secular piece of americana.## Re:You know you want to decode it (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41671795)

Sure, but still Americana. And having seen it doesn't mean a person would remember every quote from it.

## Re:You know you want to decode it (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41662555)

Message: bka mtn lke lwp hga me

Key: pfrbeoxqasthnmlyjkigdwcvzu

MORE ovaltine? Its all I drink already!

## A very good teacher (5, Informative)

## mattpalmer1086 (707360) | about a year and a half ago | (#41664271)

I haven't read the book, but I studied cryptography under Professor Keith Martin at RHUL. He was never anything but encouraging of my attempts to design cryptographic protocols. On one occasion I was trying to invent a new symmetric key exchange protocol, reducing the trust required in the trusted third party. He gave me some good pointers, but did observe that the protocol required in the assignment was, by definition, supposed to be a *trusted* third party protocol. Nevertheless, he allowed me to work some of the ideas out a bit more. It was a lot of fun (but a terrible protocol!).

Anyway, I must get a copy of this book. It it's anything at all like his teaching it will be money well spent.

## Re:A very good teacher (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665487)

OTOH I once bought a short book on security by Ben Rothke after he posted another review here and incidentally plugged his book. It was only $6, which made it one of the cheapest books on computers sold by Amazon, so I figured what could I lose? Answer: six bucks. It was like a long elementary article on computer security for dummies you can find on the web, a complete waste of time and money.

Ben: I've got issues over that purchase.

## Re:A very good teacher (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665711)

>>>It was only $6, which made it one of the cheapest books on computers sold by Amazon,

Amazon has over 50,000 ebooks for 99 cents.

There are millions of used books for under a dollar.

So it certainly was not the cheapest.

## Re:A very good teacher (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41667349)

An anonymous coward is upset about a $6.00 purchase....what has life come to.

## Re:A very good teacher (0)

## Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41665693)

Very cool. I always enjoyed professors who were like that.

## Additional reading (1)

## tbid18 (2495686) | about a year and a half ago | (#41670993)

## Re:Additional reading (1)

## rubikscubejunkie (2664793) | about a year and a half ago | (#41672731)