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Because I needed to look it up, too:

"Bruce Schneier an American cryptographer, computer security specialist, and writer. He is the author of several books on general security topics, computer security and cryptography."


If you ask me to name a cryptographer, Scheier is by far the first one that comes to mind. Also, in my experience, his book, Applied Cryptography, is by far the most reccomended book for people new to crypto.

Applied Cryptography is a terrible reference. Please don't recommend it to programmers. Instead, recommend Practical Cryptography / Cryptography Engineering (they're the same book), which Schneier co-authored with Niels Fergusen.

Update: I said "terrible book" but I'm going to start being more precise about this. It's not a terrible "book"; I enjoyed the hell out of it when I was a teenager. It's just misleading and dangerous.

Your right. I learned crypto for an internship at a cryptography lab, so having the reference of the primitives that mere mortals should never touch, as well as a reference to many ideas that both worked and failed was extremely useful. Of course, if you want to learn crypto to use it well in your own (non-crypto) code, than those are probably exactly the qualities you do not want in your reference book.

Not having read (nor the time and inclination to read) the book, what is so bad about it, and what is the difference with the one you do recommend?

I know basically nothing about cryptography, but Scheier is the first to my mind as well. The only other name that even comes to my mind is Colin Percival, but that's only because of his comments on HN (cperciva).

I bet you can't triforce, either.

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