With the growing interest in Cyber Security this book charts the evolution of codes, cyphers and secret writing and introduces the reader to the complex world of modern day cryptography.
The author Simon Singh clarifies the differences between codes and ciphers, and provides amusing examples of steganography, the art of secret writing adopted by the ancient Greeks and Chinese. He covers the use of symbols, alphabets and Egyptian hieroglyphics and explains the manual Nomenclature substitute cipher used by Mary Queen of Scots deciphered by Thomas Phelippes.
With the growing battles between cryptographers and cryptanalysts to make and brake ciphers, Singh traces the development of cipher machines paying particular attention the work of ‘the codebreakers of Bletchley Park’ to crack the Enigma and
the Lorenz ciphers. Highlighting the two British decryption devices developed to
assist those codebreakers the author introduces the Bombe and Colossus, the latter
of which he says ‘determined the development of cryptography during the latter half of the twentieth century’.
In the final chapters of the book, that advancement in post war communication and computer technology, coupled with the need for future national security is covered in some detail.
This book is well written, supported by simple informative diagrams, tables, appendix and a list of additional reading matter.