The Code Book by Simon Singh starts with the story of Mary Queen of Scots who was assassinated because she failed to communicate her message using strong coding system (p. 44). From the beginning of the book, Singh establishes the importance of coding to communicate messages. This book was easy to read, very engaging and has lost of humor in it. The stories continuous from the ‘unbreakable’ Vigenere cipher in the nineteenth century to the present developments of public-key and quantum cryptography. Throughout the book, he makes historical connections that are relevant to the topic. He incorporates the importance of cryptography during war time to communicate information from one station to other. Personally, I find this book interesting because it presents the evolution of cryptology over time and makes us think how the world would be without cryptography.
In the past, cryptology was mostly used by the governments and politicians. It started with disguising the message so that the opponent would not be able to gather the information, which is called transposition (p. 7) and over time substitution of information using different words become more famous. There has always been competition between code makers and code breakers. Throughout the history code makers have tried to come up with ciphers that no one could decipher and code breakers have tried to decipher them. Cipher like Vigenere and Enigma were thought to be unbreakable but they were deciphered by code breakers like Kasiski, Babbage and Alan Turning.
Singh points out the important role of deciphering during the world wars. It is said that if the German Enigma cipher and Japanese machine cipher known as Purple weren’t broken, t...
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...he role of mathematicians in the society. At the last chapter of the book, Singh talks about the future of Cryptology in “A Quantum Leap into the Future”. This book came out in 1999 and there has been lots of technological after 1999. It would be really interesting to study about cryptology in the modern world as we are more depended on technology than ever. Email, internet, online banking, and online shopping have become important means of communication and finance. Without privacy, the world of information that we have created today is not going to sustain. I think it will be nice to study about measures that the companies are taking to create secure environment for their businesses. Also this is the world that we are living now, studying about privacy will give us the idea of how much our information are secure and what the future of information era looks like.
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