Practical Cryptography / Edition 1

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Security is the number one concern for businesses worldwide. The gold standard for attaining security is cryptography because it provides the most reliable tools for storing or transmitting digital information. Written by Niels Ferguson, lead cryptographer for Counterpane, Bruce Schneier's security company, and Bruce Schneier himself, this is the much anticipated follow-up book to Schneier's seminal encyclopedic reference, Applied Cryptography, Second Edition (0-471-11709-9), which has sold more than 150,000 copies.
Niels Ferguson (Amsterdam, Netherlands) is a cryptographic engineer and consultant at Counterpane Internet Security. He has extensive experience in the creation and design of security algorithms, protocols, and multinational security infrastructures. Previously, Ferguson was a cryptographer for DigiCash and CWI. At CWI he developed the first generation of off-line payment protocols. He has published numerous scientific papers.
Bruce Schneier (Minneapolis, MN) is Founder and Chief Technical Officer at Counterpane Internet Security, a managed-security monitoring company. He is also the author of Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World (0-471-25311-1).
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Cryptography, as Bruce Schneier keeps pointing out to anyone who’ll listen, is even harder than it looks. Of course, it doesn’t help that many books on the subject are intensely academic. Such books do little for folks who actually have to implement crypto-based security. No wonder so many implementations are so poor.

Schneier, president of Counterpane Internet Security, Inc., is arguably the world’s leading crypto expert. His firm’s lead cryptographer, Niels Ferguson, isn’t far behind. Together, they’ve written Practical Cryptography to give implementers what they need to do the job right.

As Schneier often notes, excellent algorithms and protocols do exist: The devil’s in the implementation details, and plenty of companies get them wrong. Worse, the algorithms and protocols are the “easy” part. Once you get people into the loop -- as with key management -- things get really tough. Still worse, nonspecialists often treat crypto as an afterthought, to be bolted on once everything else is done. That’s a recipe for failure, considering that you have to secure your entire system: Your adversary need only find one weak link.

These are the types of issues Practical Cryptography takes on.

Schneier and Ferguson begin with some serious attitude adjustment. To build secure systems, security must come first, with other priorities (like performance or new features) way down the list. “If you are ever tempted to cut a security corner in the name of efficiency, just repeat to yourself: ‘We already have enough fast, insecure systems. We don’t need another one.’ ”

They also focus on keeping things simple -- which means lots of modularization. To that end, they present (and in some cases, create) simple interfaces for cryptographic primitives: “No features, no options, no special cases, no extra things to remember, just the simplest definition we could come up with.”

After introducing cryptography from the implementer’s standpoint, they present several key elements of cryptography systems. In two full chapters on block ciphers, they help you compare and choose amongst solutions like AES, Serpent, and Twofish; then cover block cipher modes, and help you limit the risks of information leakage. There’s a full chapter on hash functions, their weaknesses, solutions -- and tradeoffs.

Next, the authors move on to solving real-world problems, starting with one of the most common: creating secure connections. There’s detailed coverage of secure software development: everything from wiping state to handling swap files and caches -- not to mention buffer overflows, side-channel attacks, and the like.

A section on key negotiation addresses everything from generating randomness to working with primes; using Diffie-Hellman and RSA algorithms to handling crypto protocols. The authors cover key management in comparable depth: implementing reliable clocks; Kerberos and its alternatives; and the practical realities of PKI implementation (for example, why keys “wear out.”)

Practical Cryptography reaches far and wide, from algorithms and protocols to standards and patents -- with plenty of cautions to make sure you never get overconfident. Because, when it comes to security, overconfidence is fatal. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

From the Publisher
"...the insight into the world of security that is offered here makes for an interesting read...any readers who are responsible for network and data security will find plenty of valuable pointers..." (PC Utilities, June 2003)

"...absolutely brilliantly written.... I loved the chapters on PKI...a must read!..." (Information Security Bulletin, July 2003)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471228943
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/4/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 7.52 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

NIELS FERGUSON is a cryptographic engineer and consultant. He has extensive experience in the design and implementation of cryptographic algorithms, protocols, and large-scale security infrastructures. Previously, Ferguson was a cryptographer for DigiCash and CWI, and he worked closely with Bruce Schneier at Counterpane Internet Security. He has published numerous scientific papers.

BRUCE SCHNEIER is founder and chief technical officer at Counterpane Internet Security, a managed-security monitoring company. A world-renowned scientist, security expert, and lecturer, he is the author of Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World and Applied Cryptography (both from Wiley).

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Table of Contents


1. Our Design Philosophy.

2. The Context of Cryptography.

3. Introduction to Cryptography.

I Message Security.

4. Block Ciphers.

5. Block Cipher Modes.

6. Hash Functions.

7. Message Authentication Codes.

8. The Secure Channel.

9. Implementation Issues ( I )

II Key Negotiation.

10. Generating Randomness.

11. Primes.

12. Diffie-Hellman.

13. RSA.

14. Introduction to Cryptographic Protocols.

15. Key Negotiation Protocol.

16. Implementation Issues ( II ).

III Key Management.

17. The Clock.

18. Key Servers.

19. The Dream of PKI.

20. PKI Reality.

21. PKI Practicalities.

22. Storing Secrets.

IV Miscellaneous.

23. Standards.

24. Patents.

25. Involving Experts.




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