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Best Cryptography Books You Must Read

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1. The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (2000)

In his first book since the bestselling Fermat’s Enigma, Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible (and incredibly simple) logisitical breakthrough that made Internet commerce secure, The Code Book tells the story of the most powerful intellectual weapon ever known: secrecy.

Throughout the text are clear technical and mathematical explanations, and portraits of the remarkable personalities who wrote and broke the world’s most difficult codes. Accessible, compelling, and remarkably far-reaching, this book will forever alter your view of history and what drives it.  It will also make you wonder how private that e-mail you just sent really is.

Author(s): Simon Singh

2. Serious Cryptography: A Practical Introduction to Modern Encryption (2017)

This practical guide to modern encryption breaks down the fundamental mathematical concepts at the heart of cryptography without shying away from meaty discussions of how they work. You’ll learn about authenticated encryption, secure randomness, hash functions, block ciphers, and public-key techniques such as RSA and elliptic curve cryptography.

You’ll also learn:
– Key concepts in cryptography, such as computational security, attacker models, and forward secrecy
– The strengths and limitations of the TLS protocol behind HTTPS secure websites
– Quantum computation and post-quantum cryptography
– About various vulnerabilities by examining numerous code examples and use cases
– How to choose the best algorithm or protocol and ask vendors the right questions

Each chapter includes a discussion of common implementation mistakes using real-world examples and details what could go wrong and how to avoid these pitfalls. 

Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or a beginner looking to dive into the field, Serious Cryptography will provide a complete survey of modern encryption and its applications.

Author(s): Jean-Philippe Aumasson

3. Cryptography: A Very Short Introduction (2002)

This book is a clear and informative introduction to cryptography and data protection–subjects of considerable social and political importance. It explains what algorithms do, how they are used, the risks associated with using them, and why governments should be concerned. Important areas are highlighted, such as Stream Ciphers, block ciphers, public key algorithms, digital signatures, and applications such as e-commerce. This book highlights the explosive impact of cryptography on modern society, with, for example, the evolution of the internet and the introduction of more sophisticated banking methods.

Author(s): Fred Piper, Sean Murphy

4. Cryptography Engineering: Design Principles and Practical Applications (2010)

The ultimate guide to cryptography, updated from an author team of the world’s top cryptography experts.

Cryptography is vital to keeping information safe, in an era when the formula to do so becomes more and more challenging. Written by a team of world-renowned cryptography experts, this essential guide is the definitive introduction to all major areas of cryptography: message security, key negotiation, and key management. You’ll learn how to think like a cryptographer. You’ll discover techniques for building cryptography into products from the start and you’ll examine the many technical changes in the field.

After a basic overview of cryptography and what it means today, this indispensable resource covers such topics as block ciphers, block modes, hash functions, encryption modes, message authentication codes, implementation issues, negotiation protocols, and more. Helpful examples and hands-on exercises enhance your understanding of the multi-faceted field of cryptography.

  • An author team of internationally recognized cryptography experts updates you on vital topics in the field of cryptography
  • Shows you how to build cryptography into products from the start
  • Examines updates and changes to cryptography
  • Includes coverage on key servers, message security, authentication codes, new standards, block ciphers, message authentication codes, and more

Cryptography Engineering gets you up to speed in the ever-evolving field of cryptography.

Author(s): Niels Ferguson, Bruce Schneier

5. Cryptography: The Science of Secret Writing (1955)

“Those who delight in puzzles can find much to ponder here.” — Science News Letter
“Will be well received by anyone really interested in the subject.” — Scientific Book Club Review
Readers interested in secret writing will find this book an excellent elementary explanation of transposition and substitution ciphers, codes, and their solutions. More than 150 problems provide practical application as well as tests of skill and ingenuity.
After a brief description of the history of secret writing, the reader is introduced to fundamental principles of ciphers — transposition and substitution — and given an understanding of the various methods of enciphering and deciphering secret messages. The author covers geometrical patterns, route transcription, columnar transposition, and other methods used in transposition; under substitution, he treats mixed cipher systems, single-alphabet and polyalphabetical substitution, mechanical devices, the Vigenère system, etc. A discussion of cryptanalysis leads the reader into 151 problems for which answers are provided at the end. Appendixes offer notes on enciphering Japanese; and explanation of the Baconian Biliteral Cipher; frequency tables for English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Author(s): Laurence D. Smith

6. Cryptography For Dummies (2004)

  • Cryptography is the most effective way to achieve data security and is essential to e-commerce activities such as online shopping, stock trading, and banking
  • This invaluable introduction to the basics of encryption covers everything from the terminology used in the field to specific technologies to the pros and cons of different implementations
  • Discusses specific technologies that incorporate cryptography in their design, such as authentication methods, wireless encryption, e-commerce, and smart cards
  • Based entirely on real-world issues and situations, the material provides instructions for already available technologies that readers can put to work immediately
  • Expert author Chey Cobb is retired from the NRO, where she held a Top Secret security clearance, instructed employees of the CIA and NSA on computer security and helped develop the computer security policies used by all U.S. intelligence agencies

Author(s): Chey Cobb

7. Break the Code: Cryptography for Beginners (Dover Children’s Activity Books) (2013)

No, it’s not a message from outer space! Just read it backwards, starting from the bottom line, to discover what this specially coded message says. (The extra letter “X” at the beginning was thrown in just to make the message a bit more mysterious.)
Codes have been used for centuries. Now, with the help of this entertaining book, you, too, will be able to decipher dozens of secret messages. Veteran cryptographer Bud Johnson not only describes the different techniques used in secret writing but also explains — clearly and simply — how to make and break six different kinds of codes: simple letter grouping, reverse trail, shift code, key word code, date shift code, and twisted path code. You’ll even learn techniques for creating your own confidential messages!
Cartoons by illustrator Larry Daste accompany the 51 practice messages, along with easy-to-follow instructions explaining each type of code and how to use it. There’s also a glossary defining common terms used by cryptographers, a sheet of reproducible graph paper for writing out messages, and a page of ready-made alphabets for shift and key word codes. And if all those funny drawings and helpful guidelines aren’t enough to help you decode our secret messages, don’t worry. Solutions are included at the end of the book.

Author(s): Bud Johnson

8. Cryptography And Network Security, 7Th Edition (2016)

Same Contents as in US edition – ISBN – 9789332585225 – Printed in Asia – Expedited Shipping available – – Includes ACCESS CODE – Different cover design than US edition

Author(s): William Stallings

9. Cryptanalysis: A Study of Ciphers and Their Solution (1989)

Gaines’s Cryptanalysis (formerly published as Elementary Cryptanalysis) is a standard elementary and intermediate text for persons seriously interested in modern science methods for enciphering and deciphering cryptograms. It does not simply repeat older material, but contains much about modern cryptanalysis that is not generally known except to experts. It is especially strong in modern forms of cipher solution.
This clear and thorough text also provides the reader with 166 specimen codes to solve. This edition for the first time also includes solutions. A special appendix includes final letters, sequence charts, digram, trigram tables, most common words in English and frequencies in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Author(s): Helen F. Gaines

10. Cracking Codes with Python: An Introduction to Building and Breaking Ciphers (2018)

Learn how to program in Python while making and breaking ciphers—algorithms used to create and send secret messages! 

After a crash course in Python programming basics, you’ll learn to make, test, and hack programs that encrypt text with classical ciphers like the transposition cipher and Vigenère cipher. You’ll begin with simple programs for the reverse and Caesar ciphers and then work your way up to public key cryptography, the type of encryption used to secure today’s online transactions, including digital signatures, email, and Bitcoin.

Each program includes the full code and a line-by-line explanation of how things work. By the end of the book, you’ll have learned how to code in Python and you’ll have the clever programs to prove it!

You’ll also learn how to:

– Combine loops, variables, and flow control statements into real working programs
– Use dictionary files to instantly detect whether decrypted messages are valid English or gibberish
– Create test programs to make sure that your code encrypts and decrypts correctly
– Code (and hack!) a working example of the affine cipher, which uses modular arithmetic to encrypt a message
– Break ciphers with techniques such as brute-force and frequency analysis

There’s no better way to learn to code than to play with real programs. Cracking Codes with Python makes the learning fun!

Author(s): Al Sweigart

11. Hacking Secret Ciphers with Python: A beginner’s guide to cryptography and computer programming with Python (2013)

* * * This is the old edition! The new edition is under the title “Cracking Codes with Python” by Al Sweigart * * * Hacking Secret Ciphers with Python not only teaches you how to write in secret ciphers with paper and pencil. This book teaches you how to write your own cipher programs and also the hacking programs that can break the encrypted messages from these ciphers. Unfortunately, the programs in this book won’t get the reader in trouble with the law (or rather, fortunately) but it is a guide on the basics of both cryptography and the Python programming language. Instead of presenting a dull laundry list of concepts, this book provides the source code to several fun programming projects for adults and young adults.

Author(s): Al Sweigart

12. Modern Cryptography and Elliptic Curves: A Beginner’s Guide (Student Mathematical Library) (2017)

This book offers the beginning undergraduate student some of the vista of modern mathematics by developing and presenting the tools needed to gain an understanding of the arithmetic of elliptic curves over finite fields and their applications to modern cryptography. This gradual introduction also makes a significant effort to teach students how to produce or discover a proof by presenting mathematics as an exploration, and at the same time, it provides the necessary mathematical underpinnings to investigate the practical and implementation side of elliptic curve cryptography (ECC). Elements of abstract algebra, number theory, and affine and projective geometry are introduced and developed, and their interplay is exploited. Algebra and geometry combine to characterize congruent numbers via rational points on the unit circle, and group law for the set of points on an elliptic curve arises from geometric intuition provided by Bezout’s theorem as well as the construction of projective space. The structure of the unit group of the integers modulo a prime explains RSA encryption, Pollard’s method of factorization, Diffie-Hellman key exchange, and ElGamal encryption, while the group of points of an elliptic curve over a finite field motivates Lenstra’s elliptic curve factorization method and ECC. The only real prerequisite for this book is a course on one-variable calculus; other necessary mathematical topics are introduced on-the-fly. Numerous exercises further guide the exploration.

Author(s): Thomas R. Shemanske