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16 April 2014

Encyclopedia of Cryptography and Security Review


These deeply informative essays, coupled with David Kahn's magisterial The Codebreakers, Ross Anderson's Security Engineering, Peter Gutmann's Engineering Security (the last two free), among others, would have been, and could still be, invaluable for evaluating and publishing the Edward Snowden-NSA papers at a much more informed and informative scope and depth. To understand Snowden's NSA, its allies, supporters and suppliers, readers should inform themselves of what is lacking in public information and these volumes are unsurpassed foundation.

Encyclopedia of Cryptography and Security, Henk C.A. van Tilborg and Sushil Jajodia, Editors. Springer. 1,435 pages. 2nd ed. 2011. In 2 volumes, not available separately. Print (Book). $679.00

[Springer blurb]

Expanded into two volumes, the Second Edition of Springer’s Encyclopedia of Cryptography and Security brings the latest and most comprehensive coverage of the topic: Definitive information on cryptography and information security from highly regarded researchers Effective tool for professionals in many fields and researchers of all levels Extensive resource with more than 700 contributions in Second Edition 5643 references, more than twice the number of references that appear in the First Edition With over 300 new entries, appearing in an A-Z format, the Encyclopedia of Cryptography and Security provides easy, intuitive access to information on all aspects of cryptography and security. As a critical enhancement to the First Edition’s base of 464 entries, the information in the Encyclopedia is relevant for researchers and professionals alike. Topics for this comprehensive reference were elected, written, and peer-reviewed by a pool of distinguished researchers in the field. The Second Edition’s editorial board now includes 34 scholars, which was expanded from 18 members in the First Edition.

Representing the work of researchers from over 30 countries, the Encyclopedia is broad in scope, covering everything from authentication and identification to quantum cryptography and web security. The text’s practical style is instructional, yet fosters investigation. Each area presents concepts, designs, and specific implementations. The highly-structured essays in this work include synonyms, a definition and discussion of the topic, bibliographies, and links to related literature. Extensive cross-references to other entries within the Encyclopedia support efficient, user-friendly searches for immediate access to relevant information. Key concepts presented in the Encyclopedia of Cryptography and Security include: Authentication and identification; Block ciphers and stream ciphers; Computational issues; Copy protection; Cryptanalysis and security; Cryptographic protocols; Electronic payment and digital certificates; Elliptic curve cryptography; Factorization algorithms and primality tests; Hash functions and MACs; Historical systems; Identity-based cryptography; Implementation aspects for smart cards and standards; Key management; Multiparty computations like voting schemes; Public key cryptography; Quantum cryptography; Secret sharing schemes; Sequences; Web Security. Topics covered: Data Structures, Cryptography and Information Theory; Data Encryption; Coding and Information Theory; Appl. Mathematics/Computational Methods of Engineering; Applications of Mathematics; Complexity. This authoritative reference will be published in two formats: print and online. The online edition features hyperlinks to cross-references, in addition to significant research.

Reportedly, a few of the volumes' contributors have seen some of the Snowden documents, have assisted in their evaluation and have advised, with bylines, on their publication. Likely there are others who have not been reported as involved, not least because of the need to protect reputations and relationships with intelligence agencies and financial instutitions who are the primary sponsors and funders of cryptography and security investigations and products.

The range of the compiled articles is comprehensive, easy to randomly peruse, but more productively, to study in detail for readers eager to become informed about the dramatic impact of what the Snowden papers could really mean if disclosed in full, as implied by the public furor instigated by the 2% of the documents which have been published.

The dozens of authors are among the top cryptography and security experts in the world, setting aside those who will never allow their disclosure from the darkest circles of privileged official, commercial, institutional and great wealth communications -- the closed circles of cohorts pretending opposition to each other but joined in opposing public disclosure.

Imagine the excitement of these authors at being invited to review all of the Snowden papers under cloak of unofficial secrecy, to gain access to what are ostensibly comsec and cyberwar family jewels of the NSA, its allies and suppliers, to learn more of what they believed they already knew, to enjoy discovery of new ruses and deceptions mandatory in cryptography and security, to wonder what is reliable among the papers and what is nonsense embedded to mislead by classification markings, titles, summaries, aspirations and braggardy.

The limited Snowden releases have already transformed public and secret cryptography and and security, and raised official and public obligatory insecurity paranoia to a much higher level. Expect these 1,435 pages to be many times increased in the Third Edition and subsequent editions, to require perhaps tens of volumes, to fully disclose the significance, dangers and rewards of the Snowden papers when released in their entirety.

Buying these volumes now as references should be mandatory for those covering the Snowden releases -- prudent investment for interviews, quotes, credibility -- to diminish the errors and fantasies being promulgated, to compensate for the practice of promulgating errors and fantasies essential to cryptography and security, along with ruseful braggardy of what is to come, what is still hidden, what cannot be made public outside the dark circles of forever duplicitous secrecy. Ultra-dramatic, long-winded hyperbole and duplicitous claims of threat and protection, safeware and malware coding all givens of crypto-security promotion.

Glenn Greenwald avers that the most dramatic Snowden releases are yet to come. With these volumes the Snowden industry will be given greater credibility and contribute to genuinely publicly-informed public debate.