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Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C
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Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,982 ratings  ·  43 reviews
"…the best introduction to cryptography I've ever seen. … The book the National Security Agency wanted never to be published." –Wired Magazine

"…monumental… fascinating… comprehensive… the definitive work on cryptography for computer programmers…" –Dr. Dobb's Journal

"…easily ranks as one of the most authoritative in its field." —PC Magazine

"…the bible of code hackers." –Th
Hardcover, Second Edition, 784 pages
Published November 2nd 1995 by Wiley (first published November 10th 1993)
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4.19  · 
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 ·  1,982 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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J. Pablo
Nov 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I think this book might have been great, but today, it shouldn't be considered more than a historical document. Even though a 20-year anniversary version was released, it has no changes but a new introduction and in it, Bruce Schneier says:

"For those who want a more current book, I recommend Cryptography Engineering, which I wrote in 2010 with Niels Ferguson and Tadayoshi Kohno. But for a review of those heady times of the mid-1990s, and an introduction to what has become an essential technology
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Essential to any developer. Will teach you the basics which have become the 80/20 for me to understand cryptography in general.
Koen Crolla
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Getting hold of a copy of Applied Cryptography took some effort (maybe the crypto export controls it makes such a big deal about have something to do with it, but incompetence is more likely to blame), but it's everything I expected it to be: a rock-solid book about cryptography as she is practised, with enough theoretical background to be relevant and links to an endless amount more.

However, the first edition of this book came out in 1994, and this second edition in 1996, and that's a long time
Colin Jones
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Lots of detail on algorithms that are now out of date, but the opening chapters on crypto protocols were terrific. By far the largest bibliography I recall seeing - over 1500 entries. I'd recommend Practical Cryptography (or its later edition, Cryptography Engineering) above this one, even though (and partially *because*) it lacks the level of implementation / algorithm detail here.
Jeff Yoak
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-1999
This is a classic, foundational book in cryptography. It helped me along quite a bit early in my career.
Peter House
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Applied Cryptography is a lengthy and in depth survey of its namesake. Detail oriented with bits of temporal or political observations, Bruce Schnier’s book takes the reader through weak and strong crypto protocols and algorithms. This book also brings a fair amount of history along with it. The history, for example, of DES is fascinating in its own right. What was NSA doing? What were their intentions? Was it a happy coincidence of missed expectations? By its very secretive nature, the reader i ...more
Thomas Hansen
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read! As this book is almost 25years old it is not up to date on the latest crypto algorithms, but how often can you read a technical book and check with wikipedia or google and look 25 years into the future?
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cryptography
It's woonder full book on who wants to learn about cryptography
Martin Stoller
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THE book on applied cryptography. Period.
James Temple
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent insight into practical applications of cryptography - particularly for computer programming, but not exclusively
Nelson Minar
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! I studied some crypto in college (public key and zero knowledge proofs) and found the field almost incomprehensible: lots of very specific number theories, very little overview information. Applied Cryptography fills this vital gap very successfully, going from completely introductory information to some fairly specific details on particular systems. The 2000 or so references in the back are great when you need to follow up on particular details. It's good this book was pu ...more
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the mother of all cryptographic books ever published, explaining each & every encryption algorithm EVER designed on this planet. Its an exhaustive list of algorithms, explaining each in detail, with their strengths and weaknesses, in a practical manner. The book is highly mathematical, and security people who deal only with codes and networks might have difficulties in the esoteric level of maths involved. All in All, Applied Cryptography is a great book, a must have on every securit ...more
Kyle The Hacker
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
While a classic, this book is beginning to show its age. It provides a solid overview of the fundamentals. However, it fails to cover many modern algorithms (such as Rjindael); this is, of course, no fault of the authors as these algorithms weren't published until after the book went to press.

This book is good for explaining how the protocols and algorithms work, but it isn't nearly as useful for those looking to understand the practical side of cryptography.
For its time, it was amazing, not just for the subject matter but the clarity of its explanation. For me, it helped me understand a lot of the mathematical background and the pitfalls. I think he was already beginning to focus on the security implications of protocols over cryptographic implementation and the combination of the two subjects is powerful. Yes, a lot is dated, but the same mistakes keep being made. Learn from it and then find a more current text for implementations.
Sep 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computer-science
This is an excellent book on all the mainstream and not so mainstream encryption algorithms(as of several years ago). It does not include the new AES, or recent issues with md5, but Schneier has given some recommendations/predictions in this book that are in line with recent news.

I would have given this 5 start, but it is several years old, and needs to be updated.
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I instantly had bought this one after I heard a lot from Internet sources about Bruce and his work. I have only skimmed through the book; looks good as an introductory text. Bruce Schneier is well known for his contributions in the field of cryptography and computer security; his ideas and writings have ignited many minds. I hope this one does good too. :)
Mark Kubacki
Although it's a good introduction to someone new in the field, it's dated and missing some important new schemes. For example, the quite accessible and widespread ed25519 curves, with a discussion about twist-security. And it's missing alternate schemes, such as Schnorr's; curve discussion; padding schemes and so forth. I'd love to see an update of this book, though.
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you need to write encryption applications, or, want to understand how encryption works, see the math, algorithms, source code so you can analyze in your favourite debugger, then this book is for you. Schneier is a master of Cryptography and doesn't disappoint.
However, be aware that a certain level of understanding is required to navigate through the content.
Happy computing!
Jeremy Brooks
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: software engineers, developers, technology people
If you want to understand or work with cryptography, this is The Book to read. The concepts are presented clearly and the examples are easy to understand.

This is a good introduction to cryptography, and a good reference work as well. You will use this book over and over again.
Jon Britton
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
He deliberately wrote this around the same time as "The Handbook of Applied Cryptography", the seminal work that redefined cryptonalysis, with a manipulative title. It's more of a high level, "here's what a cypher is" description, rather than an actual course in algorithm design or C code.
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Contains both an excellent introduction to information security and the cryptographic problem as well as detailing implementations for many algorithms. Includes a section on real world case studies, but given the book's age, those should be taken with a grain of salt and a heavy dose of research.
Nov 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: computers
This is THE cryptography book to study/read/consume...

If you are involved with cryptography in any way and haven't read this book then you are really missing out (as well as acting foolishly).

This is a must read!
Kenneth Finnegan
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book badly suffers from being more than 10 years old in a field that is such a moving target. Only reason not a 5. I'd hope for a third edition, but this book will always be out of date by the time it goes to press.
Freddie Barr-Smith
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Elegant explanations of cryptographic protocols but too dated to be of much practical use now.
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A seminal work and useful reference when writing secure code.
Michael Brady
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: security, science
I won't pretend I understood any of the math, but the historical and conceptual details were excellent.
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this book is like an encyclopedia of cryptography
Hesham Magdy
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
the bible of cryptography :)
along with the handbook of applied cryptography i think
Peter Voorhees
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was very impressed with how approachable Mr. Schneier makes cryptographic operations and protocols. This book is HIGHLY useful for understanding the fundamentals of all the described protocols.
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Bruce Schneier is "one of the world's foremost security experts" (Wired) and the best-selling author of thirteen books. He speaks and writes regularly for major media venues, and his newsletter and blog reach more than 250,000 people worldwide. He is a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and the CTO of Resilient Systems, Inc.
“Even after the aliens from Andromeda land with their massive spaceships and undreamed-of computing power, they will not be able to read the Soviet spy messages encrypted with one-time pads (unless they can also go back in time and get the one-time pads).” 0 likes
“Something that looks like a protocol but does not accomplish a task is not a protocol—it’s a waste of time.” 0 likes
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