Crypto Dictionary

Crypto Dictionary

500 Tasty Tidbits for the Curious Cryptographer
by Jean-Philippe Aumasson
March 2021, 160 pp.

Download Sample: "B" Definitions

Cryptography from A5/0 to ZRTP

Expand your mind—and your crypto knowledge—with the ultimate desktop dictionary for all things cryptography. Written by a globally recognized cryptographer for fellow experts and novices to the field alike, Crypto Dictionary is rigorous in its definitions, yet easy to read and laced with humor. You’ll find:

  • A survey of crypto algorithms both widespread and niche, from RSA and DES to the USSR’s GOST cipher
  • Trivia from the history of cryptography, such as the MINERVA backdoor in Crypto AG’s encryption algorithms, which may have let the US read the secret communications of foreign governments
  • An explanation of why the reference to the Blowfish cipher in the TV show 24 makes absolutely no sense
  • Discussions of numerous cryptographic attacks, like the slide attack and biclique attack (and the meaning of a crypto “attack”)
  • Types of cryptographic proofs, such as zero-knowledge proofs of spacetime
  • A polemic against referring to cryptocurrency as “crypto”
  • A look toward the future of cryptography, with discussions of the threat of quantum computing poses to our current cryptosystems and a nod to post-quantum algorithms, such as lattice-based cryptographic schemes

Or, flip to any random page and learn something new, interesting, and mind-boggling for fun. Organized alphabetically, with hundreds of incisive entries and illustrations at your fingertips, Crypto Dictionary is the crypto world go-to guide that you’ll always want within reach.

Author Bio 

Jean-Philippe (JP) Aumasson is the Chief Security Officer and cofounder of Taurus Group, a Swiss financial tech company specializing in digital assets infrastructure. Since 2006, he has authored more than 60 research articles in the field of cryptography and designed the widely used hash functions BLAKE2 and SipHash. The author of the acclaimed book Serious Cryptography (No Starch Press, 2017), he speaks regularly at information security and technology conferences.


"Aumasson includes his own observations and editorial comments in the entries, which makes for a more interesting read than most dictionaries. . . . Readers also can use the dictionary for a crash course in the field and assemble a reading list of important texts."
—Veronica Combs, Tech Republic

"An opinionated mix of witty definitions, mentions of niche cryptographic constructions and obscure algorithms, historical curiosities, and cryptography nerd jokes . . . As written in its introduction, Crypto Dictionary is meant to be an entertaining read, so that 'any reader can open the book at a random page and discover a yet unknown notion, excavate an obscure concept, or read an anecdote about a familiar term.', and it perfectly fulfils this role."
—Julien Voisin,

"Just filled with gems."
—Matt Hodges, Engineering Director, Joe Biden Presidential Campaign

"It does not disappoint."
—Ryan Canty, Google Cloud Strategic Engineer

"In terms of usefulness, I think Crypto Dictionary has definitely earned its place on my bookshelf next to Serious Cryptography. I can confidently say that I will be coming back to Crypto Dictionary over time as a starting point for researching 'new-to-me' concepts in cryptography. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a general interest in cryptography or needing a basic guide to ‘translate’ crypto jargon to English."
—Craig Young, Principal Security Researcher, Tripwire

"Arranged as alphabetical dictionary definitions with occasional supplementary details, his Crypto Dictionary: 500 Tasty Tidbits for the Curious Cryptographer is a rather less serious, but surprisingly comprehensive, collection of nuggets of information about cryptography that will make you smile, and occasionally scratch your head."
—Mary Branscombe, ZDNet

Check out Quinnipiac University Graduate Program's interview with Jean-Philippe Aumasson on Cybersecurity career intelligence

Read this Q&A with author Jean-Philippe Aumasson and InfoQ on quantum computing and cryptography