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Codebreaking: A Practical Guide (codebreaking-guide.com)
104 points by Sami_Lehtinen 9 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 4 comments

Interesting that the book received praise from Ed Scheidt, who designed the cryptographic methods used in Kryptos.

> This is THE book about code breaking. Very concise, very inclusive, and easy to read. Good references for those who would make codes, too, like Kryptos.

That sounds like a strong hint that the book comes close to discussing the kind of code used in the remaining unsolved section, though if so I suspect Dunin would have realized it in the writing process. (Others have already attempted and failed to identify the cipher through the process of elimination.)

For a good casual book on the subject, consider Simon Singh's "The Code Book," or if you want something more comprehensive, David Khan's "The Codebreakers" is extensive (though it was first printed before public key cryptography was widely known and completely reset the field).

I second Simon Singh's "The Code Book" and David Kahn's "The Codebreakers".

If you're interested a good story about a one-man struggle to get British secret agents in WWII to start using reasonably secure codes (especially unbreakable one-time-pads), I recommend "Between Silk and Cyanide" by Leo Marks.

A stronger version of the British double-transposition code that Leo Marks hated is the Soviet VIC cipher[0], which only has about 38 bit key strength, but is surprisingly strong for a pencil-and-paper method. For pencil-and-paper plus a deck of playing cards, there's Danial Shiu's improvements on Bruce Schneier's Solitaire[1].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VIC_cipher

[1] https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.06300

This is all puzzle cryptography, right? Cryptograms, not cryptography? I'm interested in hearing more about how any of this is "practical", though maybe that's not the way the title means it. Elonka Dunin isn't a cryptographer (nb: neither am I), but has long defended a reputation as a "cryptologist" on Wikipedia for her work journaling other people's work on the CIA's "Kryptos" statue --- which is itself puzzle crypto.

Puzzle and "classical" cryptography, as opposed to modern (post Claude Shannon's "Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems"[1] paper from 1949) cryptography. From the table of contents no modern cryptosystems are even mentioned. That said, I'd expect it's a good book for people with an interest in historical cryptography and cryptogram puzzles. Most modern cryptography texts will mention the sorts of things in this book's contents in passing, but not really describe the techniques or provide exercises.

[1] http://netlab.cs.ucla.edu/wiki/files/shannon1949.pdf

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