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REVIEW: "Cryptography and E-Commerce", Jon C. Graff

 
 
Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor
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      11-28-2003
BKCRECOM.RVW 20031019

"Cryptography and E-Commerce", Jon C. Graff, 2001, 0-471-40574-4,
U$29.99/C$46.50
%A Jon C. Graff
%C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor, Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8
%D 2001
%G 0-471-40574-4
%I John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
%O U$29.99/C$46.50 416-236-4433 fax: 416-236-4448
%O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...bsladesinterne
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...bsladesinte-21
%O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASI...bsladesin03-20
%P 222 p.
%T "Cryptography and E-Commerce"

The introduction states that the author has set out to write an
"accessible, easily understood, and entertaining" guide to modern
cryptography.

Part one is a presentation of current cryptography. Chapter one opens
with symmetric key concepts, but states that DES (Data Encryption
Standard) is safe for the present (DES had been broken at least twice
by the time the book was written). The basic ideas are presented, but
the metaphors and illustrations used may confuse, rather than explain,
the issues. The same is true for integrity protection (hashes and
digests) in chapter two, and with key management, Kerberos, asymmetric
(public key) cryptography, certificates (using only a hierarchical
structure), certificate extensions and attributes, and US export
restrictions, in the succeeding chapters. The section finishes with a
one page "chapter" of concluding remarks.

Part two, consisting of chapter ten, is a tutorial on the underlying
mathematics of asymmetric cryptography. As with the basics of
cryptography presented earlier, using pictures and stories does not
seem to help matters, particularly since the math is not correct. (In
explaining RSA on page 127, 3 x 11 does *not* equal 44, and a
previously undefined function appears partway through the process.)

Part three contains case studies of architectures proposed by the
author. Chapter eleven utilizes Kerberos, but the most interesting
parts involve the use of hardware cards. Chapter twelve is an outline
of a fairly generic PKI (Public Key Infrastructure).

Overall, the explanations of cryptographic concepts are not bad, but
they are not particularly accessible or easily understood, and there
are certainly clearer and more complete books that make fewer
mistakes, even the simpler ones, such as "Cryptography Decrypted" by
H. X. Mel and Doris Baker (cf. BKCRPDEC.RVW), or "Internet
Cryptography" by Richard E. Smith (cf. BKINTCRP.RVW). The
entertainment value of the pictures and stories is minimal, and, as
noted, the graphics and personal names are unlikely to assist the
reader in understanding the fundamental theory.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 2003 BKCRECOM.RVW 20031019

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