News: 1995 Archives

How to Scramble Your Mail

  • Jennifer Tanaka and Brad Stone
  • Newsweek
  • December 4, 1995

The first version of Bruce Schneier’s Applied Cryptography was called “the book that the National Security Agency wanted never to be published.” Maybe because it was full of programming code and instructions on how to apply powerful means to encode information so that no one—not even the government—could read it. Now comes the book’s second edition (Wiley, $49.95), fat as a phone book and loaded with new and improved crypto systems, including a method for defeating the “key escrow” mechanism in the government’s much maligned Clipper Chip. Cypher-punks will likely spam Santa’s e-mail box with requests for it…

Books in Review: Applied Cryptography

  • William Hugh Murray
  • Information Systems Security
  • Winter 1995

This is a book about modern cryptography—that is, it treats its subjects in a modern context. For example, the subject of symmetric cryptography is completed in little more than a page in chapter two; then the substance of the book begins. Many of the ideas covered are less than ten years old and most are less than twenty years old.


In his preface to this book, Whitfield Diffie notes that there was a hiatus in publishing on cryptography from the end of World War I until the publication of David Kahn’s history, The Codebreakers. Although Diffie is silent on the cause of this, it was the result of government policy. During the late 1960s, events began to conspire against the silence. Perhaps the most important event was the emergence of the automated teller machine, an application that simply could not be done in the clear. Whatever the cause, during the last twenty-five years thousands of papers, and dozens of books have been published on the subject…

New Literature: E-Mail Security

  • Electronics Now
  • September 1995

Today, messages can be sent by computer modem a lot faster than they can by sent by the traditional services from messenger and postal system to Federal Express or UPS. However, in transmitting over open telephone lines, your message is far more vulnerable to interception by unwanted persons than ever before. So you have a tradeoff between speed and security.

This book is all about how to regain some or all of the privacy 10st to E-mail. The average electronic mail message passes through a half dozen intermediate stages between its source and its destination, and there are no laws to prevent prying eyes from reading that message…

E-Mail Security by Schneier

  • Rob Slade
  • RISKS Digest
  • February 24, 1995

This is the third work that I have seen on the PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) text encryption and authentication system. (I understand that at least two more are in the works.) It is also the first to truly present the general concept of email security by covering the only other realistic option—the Internet Privacy Enhanced Mail (PEM) standard and (Mark) Riordan’s Internet Privacy Enhanced Mail (RIPEM) implementation. The book divides roughly into quarters discussing background, practical use, the PGP documentation, and the PEM RFCs.

The work is considerably different, in style, to the Stallings (…

Uncryptic Look at Cryptography

  • Charles Pfleeger
  • IEEE Software
  • January 1995

With the world accelerating onto the information superhighway, protection of data’s secrecy and correctness takes on increasing importance. The best tool for that protection is cryptography, a very old tool. Despite the importance and maturity of cryptography, few good reference books accessible to nontheorists have been published. This book is a great resource for the software professional who wants to know more about the subject.

Bruce Schneier covers three cryptographic topics of interest to the software professional: protocols, techniques, and algorithms. Additionally, the book contains C source code for many of the algorithms. Few software professionals will want to read the 600-page book cover to cover, but cryptography is so subtle and interconnected that it is worthwhile to at least skim the entire book and then return to study the parts of most immediate interest…

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.