50 Books Every Geek Should Read
Eric Dahl / InsideTech
January 12, 2010
“The Code Book,” Simon Singh
Comprehensive, engaging, and full of amazing stories and sample decryptions, “The Code Book” is everything you could ask for as an intro to cryptography and code breaking. Plus, if you read it on a commute, there’s a good chance you’ll get to spend a suspenseful work day wondering how exactly Kasiski cracked the Vigenere cipher for really long keyphrases. Good times.
“Cryptonomicon,” Neal Stephenson
Sure, this one probably belongs in sci-fi, but Stephenson’s novel about a team of hackers working to build an island-based data haven draws its inspiration from real-life events: The cryptographers at England’s Bletchley Park, Haven Co’s operation on Sealand, etc.
“Crypto,” Steven Levy
Cryptography’s a tough business. And before Ron Rivest, Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman, and Ralph Merkle came along, it was a damn near impossible business for anyone outside of government agencies. Levy recounts how pioneers like Diffie and Hellman brought cryptography out into the public, and developed the systems that make secure Internet transactions possible.