An excellent, informative and entertaining introduction to this field. The first third covers, in reasonably technical detail, the theory and mathematical implementation of cryptosystems. Much of this isn't necessary for the casual reader, but its the clearest explanation of this arcane stuff you're going to find anywhere. The second third covers real-world applications of cryptosystems - electronic voting, cyber-money, key management and a thousand other inventive uses. Sufficiently non-technical for even a salesman to understand. The last third covers the politics of modern encryption, and is more intriguing, exciting and informative than any Tom Clancy novel. This last part alone is worth the price of the book. Schneier's writing style is informal, informative and often humourous. It's hard to believe anyone can write about such a (potentially) dry subject and yet include some genuine jokes! Buy this book.
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