REVIEW: "Cryptanalysis", Helen Fouche Gaines

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. BKCRPTAN.RVW 20091015

    "Cryptanalysis", Helen Fouche Gaines, 1939, 978-0-486-20097-2,
    U$9.95/C$14.95
    %A Helen Fouche Gaines
    %C 31 E. 2nd St, Mineola, NY 11501
    %D 1939
    %G 978-0-486-20097-2 0-486-20097-3
    %I Dover Publications, Inc
    %O U$9.95/C$14.95 www.doverpublications.com
    %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0486200973/robsladesinterne
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0486200973/robsladesinte-21
    %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0486200973/robsladesin03-20
    %O Audience i+ Tech 3 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
    %P 237 p.
    %T "Cryptanalysis: A Study of Ciphers and Their Solution"

    Written in 1939, and republished since, this work does not, of course,
    address modern cryptography and algorithms. It is primarily valuable
    as an interesting guide to some of the history of cryptography. It
    also provides some general conceptual points, and gives practical
    examples of the basic operations and principles of cryptanalysis.
    Cracking modern algorithms is complicated, mathematically intensive,
    and tutorially impractical, but it does use the same ideas and
    approaches which are addressed in a more accessible fashion here.

    Chapter one is a general introduction to the ciphers, codes, and the
    requirements which existed at the time the work was written. Some of
    the subsequent chapters, such as those on concealment and general
    transposition ciphers, are also basic introductions, and therefore of
    little use to a modern professional, although probably of greater
    interest to hobbyists. Once Gaines gets into specific ciphers (for
    example Nihilist Transposition, in chapter four) she also starts
    delivering detailed procedures for breaking the encryption, and
    recovering both plaintext and keys. Following the procedures requires
    some application, but her explanation of (for example) the strip
    piecing attack against columnar transposition is much clearer than
    that given by David Kahn in "Codebreakers" (cf. BKCDBRKS.RVW): even
    though Kahn considered himself a cryptanalyst, he never matched the
    level of exegesis that Gaines provides. (Not all of the material is
    from Gaines herself: she also includes essays and exercises from
    members of the American Cryptogram Society.) The decryption of
    substitution ciphers is often the more complex exercise, turning on a
    combination of frequency analysis and guessing at probable words.

    While this work will be of limited help in understanding modern
    complex ciphers, the fundamental concepts illustrated may be of some
    use. More interesting are the examples of the convoluted ways that
    people have tried to hide their information over the years--and the
    equally ornate means others evolved in order to break those codes.

    copyright Robert M. Slade, 2010 BKCRPTAN.RVW 20091015

    --
    ======================

    "Dictionary of Information Security," Syngress 1597491152
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    Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Nov 23, 2010
    #1
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