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

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Dec 18, 2003.

  1. 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
    %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
    %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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    Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Dec 18, 2003
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