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There are a lot of books on encryption. Is there a must read intro, something like Smashing the Stack for Fun and for profit, that more or less everyone reads?

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closed as too broad by dr jimbob, Xander, TildalWave, Lucas Kauffman, Gilles Jul 16 '13 at 19:12

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Welcome to security.stackexchange. This is an extremely broad topic, much too broad to get to the level of code snippets. I'd recommend reading a book or taking a class on the topic like the free udacity applied crypto course. Encryption is broken in a variety of ways by a variety of techniques that exploit flaws of the cryptosystem. E.g., could be frequency analysis on a substitution cipher, or looking for common words/letters in a many-time pad, to side-channel attacks like padded oracle. Maybe ask about specific cipher – dr jimbob Jul 16 '13 at 17:15
Perhaps this should be moved to the Cryptography exchange? – David Hoelzer Jul 16 '13 at 23:25

Historically, there's no computer, let alone Python code. Encryption systems have been designed and attacked and improved since many centuries before the invention of electricity. Also, only the most basic, weakest, puniest forms of encryption can be described as "unordered data".

The really must-read introduction on cryptography and decryption is this classic text. It is free (in all meanings). French speakers may want to read this remarkable translation. This simple text is quite entertaining, extremely well written, and will plant the right ideas in the reader's mind.

Afterwards, find an introductory book. I have read that one; it is not bad. Cheap pocket editions exist, and you may find it in many libraries too. Further exploration of the subject will entail doing some maths (not very complex maths, but a lot of maths). A very good resource for that advanced stage is the Handbook of Applied Cryptography, which is quite thorough, precise, full of references, and can be downloaded for free.

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Thank you! This was more or less what I was looking for. – inbinder Jul 16 '13 at 17:08

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