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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2008
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
on 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2011
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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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2002
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
on 27 November 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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on 20 January 2013
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 the progression. The descriptions of the concepts are better than a number of other much larger IT security book I have read. There is enough detail to enable me to code them to get a better feel for the issues. This inspired me to get other books on cryptography and crypt-analysis.
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on 10 February 2013
An interesting read perfect for those looking to get an insight into this expansive and ever developing field. Writing in simple English with charismatic explanations of the key concepts, this short introduction allows ever the least technically minded readers to grasp the basics of cryptography and challenge their newly gained knowledge with tasks and puzzles. Highly recommend this book!
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on 20 December 2011
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 understand it, and being a programmer with lots of large books I'm slowly getting through, it's nice to have a short and concise book for once!
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on 25 March 2013
A Surprisingly good book. Although this book is small it covers all the relevant information needed. It answers alot of questions about encryption whilst keeping it light and easy to read. would recomend this book to anyone looking to find out more about cryptography. As a primer I can't fault this book
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on 28 December 2013
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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