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Codebreaking

Codebreaking

‘The best book on codebreaking I have read’, SIR DERMOT TURING

‘Brings back the joy I felt when I first read about these things as a kid’, PHIL ZIMMERMANN

‘This is THE book about codebreaking. Very concise, very inclusive and easy to read’, ED SCHEIDT

‘Riveting’, MIKE GODWIN

‘Approachable and compelling’, GLEN MIRANKER


This practical guide to breaking codes and solving cryptograms by two world experts, Elonka Dunin and Klaus Schmeh, describes the most common encryption techniques along with methods to detect and break them. It fills a gap left by outdated or very basic-level books.

This guide also covers many unsolved messages. The Zodiac Killer sent four encrypted messages to the police. One was solved; the other three were not. Beatrix Potter’s diary and the Voynich Manuscript were both encrypted – to date, only one of the two has been deciphered. The breaking of the so-called Zimmerman Telegram during the First World War changed the course of history. Several encrypted wartime military messages remain unsolved to this day. Tens of thousands of other encrypted messages, ranging from simple notes created by children to encrypted postcards and diaries in people’s attics, are known to exist. Breaking these cryptograms fascinates people all over the world, and often gives people insight into the lives of their ancestors. Geocachers, computer gamers and puzzle fans also require codebreaking skills.

This is a book both for the growing number of enthusiasts obsessed with real-world mysteries, and also fans of more challenging puzzle books. Many people are obsessed with trying to solve famous crypto mysteries, including members of the Kryptos community (led by Elonka Dunin) trying to solve a decades-old cryptogram on a sculpture at the centre of CIA Headquarters; readers of the novels of Dan Brown as well as Elonka Dunin’s The Mammoth Book of Secret Code Puzzles (UK)/The Mammoth Book of Secret Codes and Cryptograms (US); historians who regularly encounter encrypted documents; perplexed family members who discover an encrypted postcard or diary in an ancestor’s effects; law-enforcement agents who are confronted by encrypted messages, which also happens more often than might be supposed; members of the American Cryptogram Association (ACA); geocachers (many caches involve a crypto puzzle); puzzle fans; and computer gamers (many games feature encryption puzzles).

The book’s focus is very much on breaking pencil-and-paper, or manual, encryption methods. Its focus is also largely on historical encryption. Although manual encryption has lost much of its importance due to computer technology, many people are still interested in deciphering messages of this kind.
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Genre: Lifestyle, Sport & Leisure / Hobbies, Quizzes & Games / Puzzles & Quizzes

On Sale: 10th December 2020

Price: £16.99

ISBN-13: 9781472144201

Reviews

Quite the best book on codebreaking I have read: clear, engaging and fun. A must for would-be recruits to GCHQ and the NSA!
<b>Sir Dermot Turing</b>, author of <i>Prof</i>, the biography of his uncle, Alan Turing
Approachable, accessible, this book brings back the joy I felt when I first read about these kinds of things as a kid.
<b>Phil Zimmermann</b>, creator of PGP cryptography, inductee to the Internet Hall of Fame
This is THE book about code breaking. Very concise, very inclusive, and easy to read. Good references for those who would make a code like Kryptos.
<b>Ed Scheidt</b>, Central Intelligence Agency
Riveting. Dunin and Schmeh show us that we each have our own inner codebreaker yearning to be set free. Codebreaking isn't just for super-geniuses with supercomputers, it's something we were all born to do.
<b>Mike Godwin</b>, creator of Godwin’s Law, former general counsel, Wikimedia Foundation
Codebreaking is a remarkable treatment of the art of decoding of hand-created codes. Clear and conversational in tone, it transforms a sometimes daunting topic into an approachable and compelling story. Its comprehensive survey of manual codes and techniques for cryptanalyzing them is thoroughly illustrated with real historical examples, from the Voynich Manuscript to the Zodiac Killer's encrypted messages. An excellent book for starting a deep-dive into cryptanalysis.
<b>Glen Miranker</b>, former Chief Technology Officer, Apple Computers
This is the book of my dreams: A super-clear, super-fun guide for solving secret messages of all kinds, from paper-and-pencil cryptograms to Enigma machines. With deep knowledge and skillful storytelling, Dunin and Schmeh capture the joy and power of codebreaking.
<b>Jason Fagone</b>, author of the bestselling <i>The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies</i>
This is the book we've all been waiting for, a page-turner packed with intrigue and mystery - the first practical book on codebreaking for the digital age. Code experts and enthusiasts Elonka Dunin and Klaus Schmeh patiently explain the basic types of codes and ciphers, and how to detect which scheme is being used. Say you discover an aged letter covered with mysterious symbols tucked into an old book in the attic. An encrypted communication from a long-dead relative, no doubt. But what does it say? Fear no more. With over a hundred cloak-and-dagger examples, ranging from the Emperor Ferdinand II, the Holy Roman Emperor from the House of Habsburg in the 1640s; to the Zodiac Killer in northern California in the 1960s, this is what you need. What a great way to introduce a new generation to the romance of mathematics!
<b>Scott Kim</b>, who gave The Art of Puzzles TED talk, puzzle designer for <i>Discover</i> and <i>Scientific American</i>
Elonka and Klaus have created an incredible resource in this guidebook to codebreaking. In essence they found a code that needed breaking and solved it for us since a practical, up-to-date source like this did not yet exist. I cannot wait to use this book, not only to solve any cryptograms I might stumble across, but also to build new ones in my own works. An incredible, practical, up-to-date resource for codebreaking which has not existed up until now.
<b>Starr Long</b>, former executive producer, Walt Disney Company
Cryptography? Ciphers? I thought this would be an easy book to put down. I was very wrong.
<b>Steve Meretzky</b>, co-author with Douglas Adams of <i>The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy</i> computer game<i>
A wonderful mix of ciphers. Beginners will be hooked on exploring the world of encryption, and those who are experienced will find much that is new.
<b>Craig Bauer</b>, Editor-in-Chief of <i>Cryptologia</i> and author of <i>Unsolved! The History and Mystery of the World's Greatest Ciphers</i>
Wow! A book that promises to break the code to codebreaking itself. For more than a decade, I led a team of experts trying to decipher the levels of meaning in the pop-culture works of Dan Brown. Through the publication of several such guidebooks, Elonka Dunin stood out as primus inter pares among our experts on codes. I am putting this book on gift lists for many occasions and for numerous people!
<b>Dan Burstein</b>, author and editor of the New York Times-bestseller, <i>Secrets of the Code</i>
A fun book telling the neat and weird secret histories, plus a practical guide to solving most any cipher. I wish that I had had a book like this back when I was in high school.
<b>Bradley Schaefer</b>, founder of the MIT Mystery Hunt, Professor, Physics and Astronomy, Louisiana State University
If you're looking for a source book to learn the art and science of cracking codes, it's hard to find a better collection than the deep and well-documented collection in this book. The original cryptext is there along with the mathematical and practical tools for stripping away the layer of secrecy to read the information hidden inside.
<b>Peter Wayner</b>, author of <i>Disappearing Cryptography, Being and Nothingness on the Net</i>
Elonka and Klaus are two of today's leaders in the analysis of unbroken ciphers, and with their book, you'll have the tools to join them. Codebreaking: A Practical Guide is a fantastic resource that describes not only the means and methods to break what once were considered unbreakable ciphers, but also contains intriguing histories and tales of how they've used these tools to attack real-world ciphers that have held their secrets for years. I'd recommend this book to anyone who's interested in learning the combination of deduction, intuition and perseverance involved in codebreaking.
<b>Wes Dafler</b>, American Cryptogram Association
A great resource for all types of codes and ciphers, and covers different parts of history and cultures with the respect that is deserved, including for Native Americans.
<b>Lonnie Henderson</b>, Master Sergeant, United States Air Force (retired), Comanche code breaker
A fascinating collection of the world's most interesting codes and ciphers and how to break them. Full of facts and fun. A must for anyone who enjoys solving quirky puzzles.
<b>Michael Smith</b>, author of the #1 bestseller <i>Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park</i> and <i>The Emperor’s Codes</i>
Pure genius meets joy in this truly one-of-a-kind compendium . . . This book will reward everyone from the curious novice to the invested researcher . . . all the while providing tools for readers to do their own explorations into the field.
<b>Dr Theda Daniels-Race</b>, M. B. Voorhies Distinguished Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Louisiana State University
What a terrific cognitive romp through some of the most important cognitive puzzlers, challenges, sizzlers and stumpers throughout history, written by two of the brightest minds alive! Highly recommended for taking out one's aggression on cerebral challenges rather than, say, Twitter and Facebook friends. I cannot wait to curl up on the couch with this book and a strong cup of coffee.
<b>Dr Constance Steinkuehler</b>, Informatics Professor, University of California, former Senior Advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
THROW YOUR OTHER BOOKS AWAY! This book goes well beyond the "how" by including historical examples, practical attacks and challenges to solve. This high-quality cryptography resource is all you need to truly understand many ciphers.
<b>Tyler Akins</b>, developer, Cipher Tools
At last a comprehensive book guiding readers through the world of codes and ciphers. Lots of general information for the casual reader, plus plenty of worked examples for enthusiasts.
<b>Joel Greenberg</b>, author of <i>Gordon Welchman: Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence</i> and <i>Alastair Denniston: Code-Breaking from Room 40 to Berkeley Street and the Birth of GCHQ</i>
Fills a gap and is very welcome . . . Strongly recommended for anyone interested in classical ciphers.
<b>Paolo Bonavoglia</b>, cryptologic historian, mathematics teacher at the Liceo Foscarini (retired)
The crypto explorer's Baedeker. It introduces you to a variety of both famous and lesser known cryptograms throughout time, while it guides you carefully through the various processes of unraveling their secrets.
<b>Frode Weierud</b>, CERN electronics engineer (retired), Visiting Research Scholar, Bletchley Park Trust
Plainspoken and informative, Codebreaking: A Practical Guide shows the incredible depth of knowledge of the two authors while retaining a clarity most books of this sort have trouble duplicating. Both experts and novices will enjoy exploring the pages of this wonderful tome.
<b>John Feil</b>, author of <i>Beginning Game Level Design</i>
If you ever wondered about secret messages on old postcards and tombstones, in newspapers and telegrams, or are fascinated with famous unsolved riddles like the Voynich manuscript and the Kryptos sculpture, this book is for you. Dunin and Schmeh are two internationally known experts on cryptology, and here they show you step by step how to crack codes and ciphers from long before the earliest radio transmissions and interceptions to long after the commercial union of military technology and entertainment in networked computing.
<b>Peter Krapp</b>, Professor of Media Studies and Informatics, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, University of California, Irvine
I have been a creator and solver of puzzles both virtual and physical my whole life, I even gave my wife a GPS-enabled puzzle box as a wedding present to lead her to our honeymoon. That being said, I could hardly imagine even approaching the problems Elonka Dunin and Klaus Schmeh have tackled. Fortunately for my ego, there remain a few even Elonka has not yet solved. However, if you wish to start down the rabbit hole, there is no better place to start than Codebreaking: A Practical Guide. I even hear that there are a few other hidden secrets embedded in this book! Good luck!
<b>Richard Garriott</b>, computer gaming pioneer, ‘Lord British’ (Ultima Online)
I don't know if it's talent or genius . . . but these people are in a different world when it comes to good old logic and brains. It seems that codebreaking requires imagination, stamina and courage to follow its path to wherever it leads. Pure brilliance is barely enough to qualify for this gig. I could never decipher or encrypt anything in this category. I will never be solving cryptograms. But this book will take you on an amazing journey through an incredible maze. Darn exciting, I must say!
<b>David Lucas</b>, award-winning composer, discoverer of Blue Öyster Cult, the cowbell guy!
Cryptography can seem like a daunting subject, but in this book Elonka and Klaus have made it understandable, approachable, and most of all: fun! Filled with many real-world examples of the use of classical cryptography techniques, the book successfully conveys the authors' contagious passion for the art of uncovering hidden messages. There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of applying the skills described in this book to unlock the mysterious secret messages. After reading this book you will be equipped with many tools to help you do it, too!
<b>Dave Oranchak</b> founder of ZodiacKillerCiphers.com and host of Let’s Crack Zodiac
Cryptography is but a game of secrets - who better than a game developer to walk you through the science, art, and history of this remarkable field?
<b>Dan Kaminsky</b>, security researcher, Chief Scientist, White Ops
This brilliant, passionate, irresistible book has it all: twisty mystery, codebreaking, secrets, encrypted messages! What's not to love?
<b>Nancy Austin</b>, co-author of New York Times #1 bestselling <i>A Passion for Excellence</i>
Codebreaking: A Practical Guide is an extremely well-documented and enjoyable book written by Elonka Dunin and Klaus Schmeh. The book provides an overview of all classical ciphers and explains with exemplary clarity how to solve them. Entertaining examples are given at each stage and challenges are presented to the reader. A long time has passed since we last saw a book dealing with the solving classical ciphers. This book is a must have in any amateur cryptographer's library. The historical perspective of the book is also extremely important as essential background to the rich history of our field for new students who will later specialize in the more mathematical aspects of modern cryptology. An excellent book!
<b>David Naccache</b>, Fellow, International Association for Cryptologic Research
Best suited for those who want to read about codebreaking with actual examples. Many specimens with images, ranging from encrypted postcards to historical messages, are conveniently classified in chapters and their solutions are explained.
<b>Satoshi Tomokiyo</b>, webmaster of Cryptiana: Articles on Historical Cryptography
A book with many interesting stories behind real historic cryptograms. These are clustered according to the ciphers behind. And the best thing: You are introduced to free and modern software to break them yourself.
<b>Bernhard Esslinger</b>, Professor of Applied Cryptography at the University of Siegen, Germany
I'll say it in cleartext: This is the most useful book on codebreaking you can have in your library.
<b>A. J. Jacobs</b>
Easy to grasp, amateur-friendly, full of real-life examples of encryption and systematically surveys the main encryption methods in a fresh way. A lovely starting manual for any crypto novice.
<b>Benedek Láng</b>, Chair of Philosophy and History of Science Department, Budapest University of Technology and Economics
A practical and engaging guide to the codes and ciphers that have been used throughout history. The story behind a code is often as important and compelling as the code itself, and Dunin and Schmeh never fail to deliver with each one they examine.
<b>Scott M. Jones</b>, Director, Electronic Frontiers Forums Track at Dragon Con, Atlanta
A comprehensive, yet accessible resource for a contemporary understanding of the past and present of codebreaking. The kind of resource that is useful for beginners, yet encyclopedic for more experienced readers.
<b>Lindsay Grace</b>, Knight Chair of Interactive Media, University of Miami, School of Communication
Takes a fresh approach to the art of codebreaking, providing many historical examples, each with a complete backstory. This book treats each cipher as a mystery waiting and wanting to be solved, and eagerly invites the reader to share in the excitement of cracking ciphers.
<b>Dr James Church</b>, Associate Professor at Austin Peay State University, author of <i>Learning Haskell Data Analysis</i>
One of the most helpful guides outside the National Security Agency (NSA) to cracking ciphers. But even if you don't become a codebreaker, this book is full of fascinating crypto lore.
<b>Steven Levy</b>, New York Times-bestselling author of <i>Crypto, Hackers, and Facebook: The Inside Story</i>
A hands-on, roller-coaster ride through the cunning world of ciphers and codes.
<b>Nick Pelling</b>, ciphermysteries.com
Two well-known code-breaking experts have joined forces and produced a book that takes a very practical look into how one solves historical ciphers, with a lot of useful theory along the way.
<b>René Zandbergen</b>, author of <i>The Voynich Manuscript: The World's Most Mysterious and Esoteric Codex</i>
A fascinating glimpse into the world of ciphers, codes, and secrets. It works equally well as a primer for the novice and as a reference for the enthusiast. Nznmvat!
<b>Raph Koster</b>, author of bestselling game-design book, <i>A Theory of Fun</i>
I dare you to find a more diverse, a more mind-blowing, a more intriguing collection of stories about codes and code breaking. This isn't just a book about cryptography and cryptanalysis, it's a fascinating glimpse into humankind's use of secrecy and deception to serve a variety of interests.
<b>Yudhijit Bhattacharjee</b>, author of the New York Times-bestselling nonfiction thriller, <i>The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell</i>
Makes it easy for the reader to do a deep dive into the many codes and ciphers still unsolved. This is a fantastic guide to cryptography, Dunin and Schmeh do a masterful job of explaining most known methods complete with historical commentary.
<b>Foaad Khosmood</b>, Associate Professor of Computer Science, California Polytechnic State University, co-founder of the Global Game Jam
A celebration of historical ciphers and codes - from how they work to how they can be broken. A gentle and enthralling introduction for the novice with scores of challenge problems, a guide for the student of classical cryptology, and a delight for the expert with dozens of unsolved problems to attack.
<b>Kent D. Boklan</b>, National Security Agency-trained cryptologist, Professor of Computer Science at Queens College, City University of New York
An encyclopedia of practical code breaking with a variety of high-profile, real-life encrypted messages. It teaches everything from how to solve parts of the famous CIA <i>Kryptos</i> sculpture to encrypted prisoner messages and other crime mysteries. The book takes a firm position that such puzzles can actually be solved and decrypted, and provides expert guidance, methodology and examples. It is superbly illustrated and written, once you start reading, it is very hard to stop! It provides solid historical and cryptanalytic and linguistic background knowledge and it has great educational value.
<b>Nicolas Courtois</b>, cryptology lecturer at University College London
Essential reading for anyone interested in solving ciphers. Elonka Dunin and Klaus Schmeh have well-established reputations as skilled writers about cryptology. This book excels, with over 100 examples of historical ciphers. Dunin and Schmeh explain how many were solved, while leaving others for enthusiasts to unravel.
<b>Ralph Erskine</b>, co-editor of <i>The Bletchley Park Codebreakers</i>; member of the editorial board of <i>Cryptologia</i>
Filled with over 200 classic and little-known enciphered documents and puzzles, this book guides the reader through the underlying principles of encipherment, the principles and processes involved in deciphering, and the ultimate outcome.
<b>Tom Perera</b>, Enigma expert
A fascinating look into the hidden world of making - and breaking - secret codes and ciphers, filled with intriguing stories of urgent messages sent by criminals, spies, and even lovers throughout history.
<b>Bob Bates</b>, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, International Game Developers Association
An inspiring, profusely illustrated encyclopedia of challenges, set in their original cultural and historical context. A delight for experts and beginners. A thoughtful workbook companion to David Kahn's classic, The Codebreakers.
<b>Nicholas Gessler</b>, PhD Anthropology, UCLA, Duke University (retired), author of 'The Computerman, the Cryptographer and the Physicist’ in <i>Alan Turing: His Work and Impact</i>
It was time for a book like this. This masterpiece is both an extension as well as a successor of the existing and nowadays partially outdated works about (unsolved) codes and cryptography - from Helen F. Gaines to David Kahn.
<b>Tobias Schrödel</b>, IT security expert and comedy-hacker, as seen on sternTV
This book not only breaks down the art of codebreaking in a manner comprehensible to a layperson like myself, but it contextualizes it in a series of compelling vignettes; recounting encrypted secrets, schemes and mysteries woven into a history of human dramas, great and small. This combination of puzzle and story makes for an eminently devourable read!
<b>Tracy Butler</b>, author and artist of the award-winning webcomic <i>Lackadaisy</i>
A treasure chest with a plethora of historical illustrations and photos chronicling cryptography dating from centuries ago all the way up to today.This is a great gift book for young and old, and a fitting augmentation to any library's collection.
<b>Joe Torre</b>, Senior Hardware Engineer (retired), Amiga Computers
I hope this book will inspire more people to take an interest in the exciting hobby of cryptology. Well, at least that one prodigy who finally decodes the Voynich manuscript . . .
<b>Oliver Knörzer</b>, author of the webcomic <i>Sandra and Woo</i>
Qvjuh huqtydw jxyi reea, yj'i xqht je ijef coiubv vhec mhyjydw uluhojxydw yd syfxuhi! Vehjkdqjubo, Y qc qrbu je huiyij.
<b>Iecuedu Mu Vekdt</b>, Rheaud qdt Ierrydw Ekjiytu qd Uisqfu Heec
Another kind of Applied Cryptography.
<b>Whitfield Diffie</b>, Turing Laureate and member of the NSA Cryptologic Hall of Honor, creator of public-key cryptography