The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography Simon Singh New York: Random House, 1999, 432 pp. ISBN 978-0-307-78784-2   The Code Book is about the mathematics and science of codes and ciphers throughout history. Singh specifically lists two purposes for this book. The first is to show the evolution of codes and ciphers, and the second is to demonstrate their relevance in today’s society. Throughout the eight chapters, he discusses the elements of complex ciphers and simplifies the mathematical details for a general audience. He enthusiastically presents stories surrounding ciphers such as who created them, who sought to break them, and if and how the codebreakers were successful. We, as student and instructor in a course entitled Networks for Cyber Operations, used this book as one of our texts in the Spring semester of 2016. To illustrate his first point, Singh shares stories about well-known ciphers such as those involving Mary Queen of Scots, the Beale Papers, and the Enigma. He uses Mary Queen of Scots to show the evolution of secret writing and the development of cryptography. He discusses how secret writing evolved into steganography and cryptography, how cryptography developed into transposition and substitution, and lastly, how substitution evolved into codes and ciphers. Additionally, he discusses the story behind the Beale Papers to introduce how codemakers use keys to encrypt their messages. Sharing the story of the Enigma Machine in World War II, he shows the evolution from encryption by hand to encryption by machine. Singh also reveals how codebreakers accomplished their work to demonstrate that as long as codemakers develop new...