Applied Cryptography

%A Bruce Schneier 
%B Applied Cryptography, Second Edition.  
%I John Wiley & Sons 
%D 1996

Bruce Schneier is also the author of Secrets and Lies. He's the designer behind the Blowfish and Twofish encryption algorithms, and the Yarrow PRNG. Twofish made it into the final round of the selection process for the new AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). He also founded Counterpane Internet Security, Inc., and is the author of Crypto-Gram, a free monthly e-mail newsletter on computer security and cryptography.

Paraphrasing Whitfield Diffie's foreword, this is a book for programmers that need to use cryptography. It's place isn't on a shelf , but beside a workstation where a programmer is cutting crypto code. If you need to do some work related to cryptography and you can only afford one book, make sure it is this one. From a programmer's point of view, this book covers mostly all you need to know about cryptography.

The subtitle of the book is "Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C.". The book is very comprehensive (as in thick), well structured and easy to read. It also comes with an exhaustive bibliography and some great source code to play with. The book also includes some overview-type chapters that you can use in case you need to explain to your boss how public key cryptography works.

A minor problem with the book is that it was published some years ago and therefore it's missing some information on the newest algorithms (i.e. AES) and on recently discovered weaknesses. But still the most comprehensive and practical cryptography book around. A pity, but it doesn't look like the author will want to publish a 3rd edition anytime soon.

You can find more information about the book at the a official web page.