Photo by ramzi hashisho from FreeImages

Finding an intro to maths for cryptography

Liz Rice
Liz Rice
Dec 30, 2019 · 2 min read

If you’re looking for an introduction to the mathematics that make cryptography work, perhaps this list might help.

Why I’m looking for cryptography maths resources

I’m currently writing a book about Container Security for O’Reilly Media, and one of my chapters will deal with how and why X.509 certificates are used to secure connections between containers (or other entities in a distributed system). X.509 certificates make use of public/private key pairs for both identity and encryption purposes.

Now, the maths (I’m British, so I put an ‘s’ on it) of how these key pairs work is beyond the scope of my book – not to mention that I’m far from an expert. But it seems like an interesting direction that some readers might like to take. So I put out a call on Twitter.

I got some great responses, including one from Yiorgos Adamopoulos suggesting I turn the results into a blog post. So here’s what I learned:

Some classics don’t age well

Quite a few folks told me that Applied Cryptography was on their reading list at university, but it’s now considered one to avoid as it’s outdated. (We actually have a copy of this at home, and I have a vague, and possibly incorrect, recollection that during the 1990’s US ban on the export of cryptography this book wasn’t supposed to leave the country, so it was something of a badge of honour to own this book.)

Recommended reads

Instead, consider one of the following options that were recommended in response to my tweet:

Online resources

If you want something immediate and possibly interactive, here are some options that folks suggested.

If you try out any of these books and resources, let me know what you think of them – and tell me if something good is missing!

Liz Rice

Written by

Liz Rice

Containers / software engineering / cycling / music / @AquaSecTeam

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade