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...

Book Review: Ghost Fleet – Scary, Accessible, Entertaining and Plausible – The Future Implications of Cyber Attacks

Singer, P. W., and Cole, August. Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2015, 416pp. When it comes to cyber Pearl Harbor metaphors, this book takes the cake. Providing a disturbingly realistic take on a connected future warfare scenario Singer and Cole immerse the reader into a world that lies just beyond the horizon. Their tale of interwoven fact and fiction is a quick and entertaining must read for all who would belittle the potential disruptive attributes of cyberspace and a networked way of war that has become increasingly pervasive from modern strategy and tactics down to acquisitions and manpower assessments. Starting their story in a future that finds the United States in confusing geopolitical world recovering from economic collapse and war where the Chinese Communist Party has been replaced by an ominously named plutocratic-military junta called the Directorate. The novel’s focus is placed on the interconnectedness of systems that seem to be just within our current technological grasp. Viz glasses that are eerily similar to Google Glass have made all but the older generations of officers and enlisted crew digital dependents well beyond even our current generations of cell-phone toting youths. The dichotomy in the opening pages between a digitally immersed crew and a paternal non-digital XO sets a stage for the triumph of old fashioned strategy, tactical acumen and seamanship over the sterile vision of over the horizon conflict between naval forces and space assets floating high above. The dialogue is fast paced and the story shifts effortlessly between differing perspectives within the novel. Frequently the reader is...