About the Book


I came across this book on accident; I was googling around for articles by Preneel and found this book, in which he wrote the foreword. Frankly, I hope this book eventually replaces most, if not all of the mainstream texts on cryptography. My only complaint about this book is that I no longer feel like one of the rare geniuses that thoroughly and completely understands cryptography. Thanks to this book, any dummy off the street can understand cryptography nearly as well as I do and they do not need a computer science or math degree. No prerequisite knowledge is required, other than the ability to read but there is plenty of math if you want to study it. [...]
- Mike G., on www.amazon.com

[...] I am sure it has occurred to you when reading a book. You are approaching the last few chapters and feel like you just want to finish it and go to the next. As soon as I started “Understanding Cryptography” I did not want to finish the book. The material is very well presented so it is clear to understand. The necessary amount of mathematics is used and complete yet simple examples are used by the authors to help the reader understand the topics.
[...] While in graduate school I attended a computer graphic course taught by an engineer at a local company in the Twin Cities area. The course was a delight because the instructor fully understood the concepts and used them in his daily professional life. When I was reading “Understanding Cryptography” I got the same feeling about the authors. They appear to fully understand the concepts and follow a very good pedagogical process that helps the reader not only understand the different topics but motivate you to perform some of the exercises at the end of each chapter and browse some of the reference materials.
I fully recommend this book to any software developer / designer working or considering working on a project that requires security. If I could, I would attend any class taught by the authors. Shame that they live in Germany and not in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota.
- on www.naiveamerican.org

First of all, this book is very well structured. That means one can read it as an absolute beginner in cryptography and find parts of the book which will make the subject of cryptography clear and interesting. Authors found a way to give just insight in often complicated cryptographic algorithms without involving rigorous mathematical concepts. On the other hand, this book is interesting even for professionals, especially practitioners who will find many timely, relevant things inside (cryptography relevant to RFID tags, smartcards, lightweight ciphers...). Very well written and structured, this book is an excellent choice for coursebook. I used it as a textbook in crypto-course and students loved it!
- Vladimir Bozovic, Podgorica, Montenegro, on www.amazon.com

It is a summer tradition for me to pick a technical topic, find a textbook that represents the subject from an introductory point of view, and self-study as much of it as I can. This summer, I picked cryptography. After searching all over the place for a decent introductory book on the subject, I stumbled upon this one. Even though it only had 2 reviews at the time, I could tell that it was exactly what I was looking for. After reading the first 6 chapters of this book, all I can say is this: WOW!
Cryptography lies at the intersection of mathematics, computer science, and electrical engineering. This book borrows ideas from all 3 fields in order to describe the core ideas of cryptography in a surprisingly elegant way. The tone of the book is formal enough so that the book isn't disorganized or overly verbose, but not too formal that it makes the readings a chore.
As stated above, the content of the book is highly organized. The first 5 chapters deal with symmetric algorithms, and the next 5 or so deal with asymmetric algorithms. The last few chapters deal with hash functions and message authentication algorithms. In between highly-technical sections, you will find informal topics that are concerned with general security topics, history, or similar subjects. These sections are a wonderful break from the technical ones, and make this highly technical book read somewhat like a novel.
The figures in this book are wonderful, and really help the reader understand the encryption algorithms more fully. [...]
These diagrams, the mathematical descriptions of the encryption schemes, and the interesting discussions that follow make learning cryptography very simple! [...]
- Maor, on www.amazon.com

I used the book "Understanding Cryptography" as text book for a basic course in cryptography. It is execellent structured, compact and clearly written and reaches the goal to be "Understandable". It offers a basic course, but it opens many possibilities to deepen the content and to explain the mathematical background. It fills a gap of well known cryptographic bestsellers, which are too detailled for a basic course. It is suitable also for engineers and students, who want to learn actual cryptography by self study. It contains the cryptographic mechanisms and algorithms, which are (or should be) used today (2010), for example presenting Elliptic Curve Cryptography not as an exotic cryptography, but as state of the art. Thanks to the authors, also for the well designed exercises.
- Christoph Ruland, University of Siegen, Germany, on www.amazon.com

[...] Mainly targeting undergraduate students, the book gives a good understandable introduction to cryptography. Most importantly, this book does not make any assumptions on prior knowledge in neither mathematics nor computer science. It is therefore not only suited for undergraduate students in mathematics or in the computer science field, but rather also for students from other domains requiring crypto skills such as legal people for example.
[...] Its strength is really its ability to explain the complex content in an easy understandable but yet accurate manner.
[...] It is really hard to find negativ points or disadvantages of the present book.
- Luigi Lo Iacono, European University of Applied Sciences, on www.iacr.org
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Clear description of cryptography. This book explains why each cryptographic technology is necessary and how to realize technology. Mathmatical expression is very clear helps uderstanding. Superb book. Thank you authors.
- Haruo Horii, Japan, on www.amazon.com

This book targets the educational market and does a wonderful job. It introduces the basic concepts used in cryptography without going into too much detail. As such, it allows the reader to still see the wood for the trees (which is not equally true for other books on cryptography). Subjects like AES and ECC are explained exactly at the right level of abtraction. The book can be used by computer scientists, applied mathematicians, and electrical engineers. It can be used as a textbook in class or for self-study.
- Rolf, on www.amazon.com

This book has a clear structure - I lifts you from ancient cryptography systems over AES, RSA to elliptic curve cryptography. All major topics are raised, also the mathematical aspects. Well suited from beginner up to intermediate level.
- Harvey Hecht, Berlin, Germany, on www.amazon.de

Excellent livre en Anglais. Les auteurs expliquent de façon détaillée tous les aspects de la cryptographie. Cryptographie a clefs symétrique et asymétrique. Fonction de hachage et signature etc.. Nécessite un niveau de mathématiques élémentaires. A recommander
- kervanoel, France, on www.amazon.fr

Kryptographie begleitet uns heute überall, doch was bedeutet es, wenn die Daten auf der Bankkarte 128-Bitverschlüsselt sind? Bedeutet es überhaupt irgend etwas, wenn, wie Ende vergangenen Jahres, viele Banken auch neue Karten aus 'Sicherheitsgründen' austauschen? Um verstehen zu können, worum es dabei geht, und um Risiken richtig einschätzen zu können, ist es nötig, sich mit dem Thema intensiver zu befassen. Wer 'Kryptographie verstehen' will, findet in dem vorliegenden Buch eine hervorragende Informationsquelle. Die Autoren haben sich große Mühe gegeben, die recht komplexe Mathematik und die Konzepte verständlich darzustellen. Das Thema ist selbstverständlich für Studierende wichtig, doch auch Entwicklungsingenieure dürften dem Buch viele wichtige Anregungen entnehmen können. Absolut sichere Systeme kann man entwickeln – diese sind dann jedoch unbedienbar. Es gilt, das richtige Maß zu finden – Verständnis vorausgesetzt!
- on DESIGN&ELEKTRONIK, 4 | 2010