REVIEW: "RSA and Public Key Cryptography", Richard A. Mollin
- BKRSAPKC.RVW 20031107
"RSA and Public Key Cryptography", Richard A. Mollin, 2003,
%A Richard A. Mollin ramollin@...
%C 115 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003
%I Chapman & Hall
%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
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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