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REVIEW: "RSA and Public Key Cryptography", Richard A. Mollin

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKRSAPKC.RVW 20031107 RSA and Public Key Cryptography , Richard A. Mollin, 2003, 1-58488-338-3, U$79.95/C$119.95 %A Richard A. Mollin
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 18, 2003
      BKRSAPKC.RVW 20031107

      "RSA and Public Key Cryptography", Richard A. Mollin, 2003,
      1-58488-338-3, U$79.95/C$119.95
      %A Richard A. Mollin ramollin@...
      %C 115 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003
      %D 2003
      %G 1-58488-338-3
      %I Chapman & Hall
      %O U$79.95/C$119.95
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1584883383/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/1584883383/robsladesin03-20
      %P 291 p.
      %T "RSA and Public Key Cryptography"

      This book is written as the text for a course. Rather than an
      introduction course in cryptography, the preface recommends that it be
      used for a second, and assumes that the students will have a
      background in number theory.

      Chapter one provides a little history and some basic cryptographic
      concepts. The emphasis is on symmetric algorithms, and most are
      expressed in formal mathematical style. Unfortunately, a number of
      the text explanations of the formulae are not very good, and this
      weakness continues throughout the work. The practice questions (which
      are distributed within the chapter after particular sections, rather
      than being collected at the end) are sometimes surprisingly
      simplistic, as in the case of multiple examples of "decrypting" ROT
      13. (Solutions to odd-numbered questions are provided at the end of
      the book.) The purpose or intention behind cryptographic work is
      examined in chapter two, and discreet logarithms and the Diffie-
      Hellman work is introduced. More asymmetric concepts, including RSA
      and others (and pointers to the Communications Electronics Security
      Group [CESG] papers that pre-date the Diffie-Hellman publication) are
      provided in chapter three. Chapter four looks at statistical methods
      used to test for relative primality (important in choosing strong RSA
      keys). Factoring processes (which might be important in attacking
      RSA) are in chapter five. Chapter six reviews both implementation
      factors as well as the algorithm in assessing the strength of RSA.
      Various aspects of authentication, including the oddly oxymoronic
      anonymous authentication that is important to systems for digital
      cash, are outlined in chapter seven. Key management is discussed in
      chapter eight. Chapter nine looks at some practical applications, and
      analyses weaknesses of current procedures and requirements for secure

      While the material is sound, and a good deal of interesting and
      important information is included, this book could have been written
      more clearly for the intended audience. In addition, while some of
      the content has more immediate practical application, somehow this
      work does not have the feeling of centrality to the topic that is
      found in "Algebraic Aspects of Cryptography" by Neal Koblitz (cf.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2003 BKRSAPKC.RVW 20031107

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the
      exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with
      calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of
      rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my first
      born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my
      soul? He has showed you, O Man, what is good. And what does
      the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to
      talk humbly with your God. - Micah 6:6-8
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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