In his first book since the bestselling Fermat's Enigma, Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic. The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography is a book by Simon Singh, published in New York in by Doubleday. When I wrote my first book, Fermat's Last Theorem, I made a passing reference to the mathematics of cryptography. Although I did not know it at the time, this.
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The Secret History of Codes and Code Breaking. Ever since humans began writing, they have been communicating in code. This obsession with secrecy has . In his first book since the bestselling Fermat's Enigma, Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing. The Code Book by Dr. Simon Singh, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.
Singh goes on to the Vigenhre cipher, hailed in the 19th century as "the indecipherable cipher," which improved on that system by using several different cipher alphabets in rotation, but it, too, ultimately proved fallible.
He then proceeds to describe the penetration of the Germans' Enigma code during World War II and, ultimately, with the rise of the computer and electronic communications, the s development of public-key cryptography. He also includes a compelling detour into the great achievements in historical code breaking: the decipherings of the Rosetta Stone and the Linear B inscriptions of the Minoan civilization.
Singh, the British science journalist who wrote the popular "Fermat's Enigma," has a gift for explaining the nuts and bolts of even the most intricate cryptographic systems; it is nothing short of astonishing to watch the Enigma cipher crumble before your eyes through a series of logical deductions that a lay reader can easily follow.
It's a measure of just how clear his explanations are that the challenge seems well within the realm of possibility.
Singh goes beyond the technical details of cryptography to profile the people behind the codes; his book is full of enlivening biographical details and deft portraits of some of the quirkier figures in the history of mathematics, computer science, archaeology and diplomacy. He is scrupulous, too, about giving credit not just to the marquee names but to the lesser-known figures in the story of cryptography as well: His account of the Enigma decoding, for instance, recognizes the work of the British intelligence service and the brilliant mathematician Alan Turing, but also explicates the essential foundations laid by an obscure Polish statistician named Marian Rejewski.
Humpty Dumpty: The Code Book: Simon Singh. In his first book since the bestselling Fermat's Enigma , Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives.
From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible and incredibly simple logisitical breakthrough that made Internet commerce secure, The Code Book tells the story of the most powerful intellectual weapon ever known: Throughout the text are clear technical and mathematical explanations, and portraits of the remarkable personalities who wrote and broke the world's most difficult codes.
Accessible, compelling, and remarkably far-reaching, this book will forever alter your view of history and what drives it. It will also make you wonder how private that e-mail you just sent really is.
Le Chiffre Indechiffrable. The Mechanization of Secrecy.
Number Theory for Computing Song Y. Years of imprisonment and the onset of rheumatism had taken their toll, yet she remained dignified, composed and indisputably regal. Assisted by her physician, she made her way past the judges, officials and spectators, and approached the throne that stood halfway along the long, narrow chamber. Mary had assumed that the throne was a gesture of respect towards her, but she was mistaken.
The throne symbolised the absent Queen Elizabeth, Mary''s enemy and prosecutor. Mary was gently guided away from the throne and towards the opposite side of the room, to the defendant''s seat, a crimson velvet chair. Mary Queen of Scots was on trial for treason.
She had been accused of plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth in order to take the English crown for herself. Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth''s Principal Secretary, had already arrested the other conspirators, extracted confessions, and executed them.
Now he planned to prove that Mary was at the heart of the plot, and was therefore equally culpable and equally deserving of death. Walsingham knew that before he could have Mary executed, he would have to convince Queen Elizabeth of her guilt. Although Elizabeth despised Mary, she had several reasons for being reluctant to see her put to death.
First, Mary was a Scottish queen, and many questioned whether an English court had the authority to execute a foreign head of state. Second, executing Mary might establish an awkward precedent -- if the state is allowed to kill one queen, then perhaps rebels might have fewer reservations about killing another, namely Elizabeth. Third, Elizabeth and Mary were cousins, and their blood tie made Elizabeth all the more squeamish about ordering her execution.
In short, Elizabeth would sanction Mary''s execution only if Walsingham could prove beyond any hint of doubt that she had been part of the assassination plot. The conspirators were a group of young English Catholic noblemen intent on removing Elizabeth, a Protestant, and replacing her with Mary, a fellow Catholic. It was apparent to the court that Mary was a figurehead for the conspirators, but it was not clear that she had actually given her blessing to the conspiracy.
In fact, Mary had authorised the plot. The challenge for Walsingham was to demonstrate a palpable link between Mary and the plotters. The first big breakthrough in decipherment was made in the ninth century by the Arab philosopher al-Kindi in a treatise only recently rediscovered. For a thousand years or more, a message coded in a random monoalphabetic cipher was considered undecipherable unless one had the key to the code. Al-Kindi hit upon the method of listing the number of times each letter appears in the scrambled message in order of frequency and matching them with a known list of frequencies of letters in the original language.
That ingenious insight was a key to deciphering a coded message from Mary, and proved her downfall. It may seem natural that mathematics and cryptography would have significant overlap, but not until this century did the two really come together.
"The Code Book" by Simon Singh
The introduction of the German ''Enigma'' machine before World War II provided the impetus to resort to serious mathematical methods for cryptanalysis. Singh recounts the pioneer efforts of the Poles in the 's to break the Enigma by recruiting a group of 20 mathematicians, one of whom, Marian Rejewski, found the key to success.
Just before the Nazi invasion in , the Poles passed on their secret methods to London, providing the British with a critical lead in eventually defeating the far more complicated version of the Enigma used during the war. To render a message unintelligible, it is scrambled according to a particular protocol which is agreed beforehand between the sender and the intended recipient. Thus the recipient can reverse the scrambling protocol and make the message comprehensible.
The advantage of cryptography is that if the enemy intercepts an encrypted message, then the message is unreadable.
Without knowing the scrambling protocol, the enemy should find it difficult, if not impossible, to recreate the original message from the encrypted text.
That was public-key cryptography.
Singh tells us it is ''considered to be the greatest cryptographic achievement since the invention of the monoalphabetic cipher, over 2, years ago. Without that key someone who intercepts the message, even knowing how it was coded, would not be able to decipher it. The theory behind this method was published in by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, and cryptography has never been the same.
One of the surprising features of public-key cryptography was that the apparently purest and least applicable part of mathematics, the theory of numbers, found a practical application.Cryptography: the encoding and decoding of private information. Such facts seem more like curiosities than of any practical use.
The Code Book
Hence, I hoped that its cracking would help test the level of current codebreaking and perhaps stretch and encourage the development of algorithms. New Releases. Later sections cover the development of public-key cryptography.
Second, executing Mary might establish an awkward precedent -- if the state is allowed to kill one queen, then perhaps rebels might have fewer reservations about killing another, namely Elizabeth. In Singh founded the Good Thinking Society. Thus the recipient can reverse the scrambling protocol and make the message comprehensible.
To render a message unintelligible, it is scrambled according to a particular protocol which is agreed beforehand between the sender and the intended recipient. Singh presents fairly both sides of the continuing conflict between the government's interest in allowing only those codes to be made public that it can decipher, in order to deter criminal activity, and citizens' interest in communicating freely without being snooped on.