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Looking for some nice text books in the field of network security as part of my course. Our course covers mainly tls, ssl, pgp, smime, vpn, md5, hmac ....


locked by AviD Dec 29 '14 at 12:46

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Most of the topics you mention are not network security. While TLS/SSL and such do have a network aspect, most of the others are e.g. cryptography, with no networking there... Are you sure thats what you need? – AviD May 3 '11 at 20:47
Yes. Apart from cryptographic algorithm, I have to study these topics. Also I dont think these topics are not Network Security related. – user2315 May 4 '11 at 0:51
My point was that you'd probably be better off learning about hmac, md5, etc, even SSL, from a crypto book, not a network security book. – AviD May 4 '11 at 1:14
@user2315, I agree with @AviD. If you want to learn about the topics you listed, you'd be better off with a cryptography book, not a network security book. I encourage you to listen to the advice you are getting here, rather than rejecting it. – D.W. May 4 '11 at 6:22
@ D.W: I didnt talk about rejecting the advice. I just expressed my views on the @AviD comments. So in your opinion which all topics comes under Network Security? – user2315 May 4 '11 at 13:04
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Check out Practical Cryptography:

Written by Niels Ferguson, lead cryptographer for Counterpane, Bruce Schneier's security company, and Bruce Schneier himself, this is the much anticipated follow-up book to Schneier's seminal encyclopedic reference, Applied Cryptography, Second Edition (0-471-11709-9), which has sold more than 150,000 copies.

I concur. If you want to learn how to apply cryptography to real systems, this is the book to read. It is awesome. There is none better, for that purpose. It tells you about all of the nitty-gritty details, but also teaches you how to think about the principles. – D.W. May 4 '11 at 6:19
By the way, there's an updated version of Practical Cryptography. See Cryptography Engineering, by Ferguson, Schneier, and Kohno. It's basically a 2nd edition of Practical Cryptography, except they changed the title as well. – D.W. May 4 '11 at 6:29

Although not confined to network security, I have also found Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems by Ross Anderson to be very useful for such purposes. It goes to great lengths to examine all the main technologies you will ever meet in network (and IT) security. In most cases, quite instructively, presents them with real life examples. There are also many entertaining anecdotes that underline how technologies can work or fail, sometimes spectacularly.

Moreover, it goes beyond that and examines the security environment in which these technologies will have to operate. As the title suggests the purpose of the book is not just to inform you about technologies but rather lead you to consider all aspects of a security solution. Like in the real world, the technical side is just one part of the equation. The other part is people, processes, economy, management priorities etc. Anderson's book puts all that in context and still makes a very interesting read.

And admit it..., haven't you always wanted to know what crypto systems secure nuclear weapons?


The book that i've used the most is Cryptography and Network Security by William Stallings. I would think that's a good place to start (but it's not exactly a beginner's book).

I've also heard good things about Hacking Exposed by Joel Scambray.

One caveat.. I don't have a huge experience base from with to make this conclusion, but I will say that the Stallings book has helped me in the past (but it goes pretty in-depth with cryptography in general, so it may be a bit different than what you're looking for).

I'm interested to see what other people mention... i may have to start adding to my book shelf.

Stallings is just... ok. It's not great. Unfortunately, I don't know of any really good textbook on network security. There are lots of books with good stuff on cryptography, but the textbooks on network security tend to be mediocre and dated, in my experience. – D.W. May 4 '11 at 6:20
@D.W. saddly, that's true... but luckily we have so many online sources – Ormis May 4 '11 at 16:12

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