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Cryptography: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Cryptography: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Kindle Edition]

Sean Murphy , Fred Piper
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Description


a perfect pocket primer for anybody interested in cryptography. (Simon Singh)

Product Description

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.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes the complex simple to understand 21 Jun 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Cryptography is a knotty subject but this book by Professor Piper starts from the beginning and provides a highly digestible (if compressed) walk through the subject. As a consultant and engineer I needed to learn something about the subject in very little time, and this book does not waste a single word in getting to the point. I would not expect to get anything more than a high level overview, and this book delivers that perfectly. It's rare to find such a well written technical book that is also comprehensible to the non-technical reader - congratulations!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AerT%^hiuP0(* (It's encrypted :) ) 22 May 2009
I bought this book as an addition to a study guide that I am following. In the guide I have the encryption section was a bit light.

This book is excellent, it gives plenty of background history on when where how and why encryption evolved. It then proceeds to go into all the current and recent, as in last 100 years or so, encryption algorithms. It discusses some of their strengths and some of their weaknesses.

The book does not get very technical as the maths behind current encryption technologies is scary to people with without a maths degree (well I think it is.). The authors simply mention some of the maths techniques used and where they do this it is at a level that someone with high school maths education should easily be able to follow. The author also makes a point though of saying that the 'technical' information is not really needed for the understanding of the rest of the book.

All in all a really good read if you are interested in encryption without blowing your mind.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Primer for Cryptography 11 July 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book presumes no prior knowledge of Cryptography whatsoever, and as such is both accessible and enjoyable to read.
Its great value for money and will serve anyone new to the subject well. It contains references which allow the interested reader to further research the topic further, either mathematically or historically.
For anyone studying Cryptography for the first time, this really is the perfect pocket primer! Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plugging Knowledge Gaps 15 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This excellent series of books has always been a great way to "plug knowledge gaps" and the Cryptography title is no exception: however, notwithstanding the slender format and its purpose as an introductory text, this should not imply either an absence of gravitas or effort-free learning.

Indeed, given that the information density in this volume is as high as its sister titles and the fact that cryptography is meant to be hard to decipher, this book is quite challenging in places and newcomers to the subject will almost certainly benefit from taking plenty of time to absorb the content and reflect on its lessons. Nonetheless, despite its complexity, Murphy and Piper have produced an excellent introduction to the topic and those exploring the potential of encryption for for the first time will find it an invaluable resource that provides the much needed context that is largely absent in the usual "how to" manuals.

Obviously, 130 pages or so isn't really sufficient space for a wholly comprehensive treatise on encryption but the authors manage to provide both historical and modern perspectives as well as discussing the practical application of encryption without loosing sight of its security implications or vulnerabilities. This is an astonishing feat given such a compact form and Murphy and Piper are to be congratulated on their achievement.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Read 27 Nov 2010
I would recommend this book as a first read on cryptography without hesitation. No prior knowledge is assumed, and the necessary maths which some of the codes use is explained as the book goes along. The order in which different types of cryptography are presented is done well, beginning with simpler ones first and building in complexity at a pace that the reader can follow. My job requires a basic understanding of cryptography and this is the recommended primer text at work. The office copy was always being used by someone so I bought my own and it's been well worth it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin 6 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Decent book, very abrupt ending with no conclusion. I would recommend Simon Sighn's The Codebook over this. But this is clear and broad range and well written.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Introduction to the field 7 Jan 2014
By OldHand
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you enjoyed this and it gives you a taste for more, I would highly recommend Simon Singh's The Code Book.
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By Peter
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very good introduction to the subject. I wonder if it's typical of the many books available in the series on all sorts of topics. I do hope so; I'd be willing to try another on a different subject.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Nice introduction to the topic for the non-technical reader
Published 5 days ago by Robert C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very good short introduction to cryptography
Published 1 month ago by Rayan Alajlan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Kaba
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
A Surprisingly good book. Although this book is small it covers all the relevant information needed. Read more
Published 21 months ago by pout
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and applicable
An interesting read perfect for those looking to get an insight into this expansive and ever developing field. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Sean Kearney
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it so much I coded them
This is a fabulous little book. It looks at a selection of ciphers from the last 2,000 years. They are clearly and concisely explained with descriptions of the issues that caused... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Julian Barnes
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Accessible
For such a short book, this covers a lot of ground and really got me interested in cryptography. The book is written so that anyone without a maths / programming background can... Read more
Published on 20 Dec 2011 by James
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this coded?
It is unfair to blame an author for failing to write a book that he did not intend to write. That the authors of Cryptography are experts in their subject and have written a first... Read more
Published on 8 Dec 2011 by opus
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