Everyday Cryptography

Keith M. Martin

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9 out of 10

Everyday Cryptography is a mighty tome - some 500+ pages long - and it examines the principles of cryptography extremely thoroughly. The core topics covered in the book include cryptography fundamentals, cryptographic tools and protocols, key management and applications.

It is a textbook (developed from a University of London cryptography course), so although it could be read from cover to cover, ‘...it is certainly possible to dip into topics as required’, to quote from the preface.

The book includes objectives and conclusions at the beginning and end of each chapter, as well as practical activities at the end of each chapter.

The need for any mathematical skill is played down - and there is a separate appendix covering some of the mathematical concepts involved in cryptography.

The book is aimed at a large and diverse audience - (1) students of cryptography, (2) users and practitioners of information security and (3) general interest (science/engineering) readers.

If you fall into one or both of the latter two categories of readership, like me, you might be a little disappointed with Chapter 12 ‘Cryptographic Applications’. This section could probably have been expanded at the expense of some of the material in other chapters.

Is it value for money? Well, £30 might sound a bit steep for a paperback, but on a page per page basis it actually represents great value, and should achieve a long shelf life as both textbook and good reference source. An ebook version is also available for under £20.

In terms of a score; for students a 9.5, practitioners 8.5 and general interest readers 8.5, giving an overall average of 9/10.

Overall, an excellent book, but one that could have been enhanced with an additional CD/DVD or website resource containing model solutions to the activities and the references.

Further information: OUP

May 2012