Archive for May 28th, 2006

Dan Brown… You should’ve stuided better!

28 May

In my opinion Dan Brown made a big mistake in his best seller novel The Da Vinci Code…

Came in the Da Vinci Code:

Da Vinci had been a cryptography pioneer. Sophie knew, although he was seldom given credit. Sophieís university instructors, while presenting computer encryption methods for securing data, praised modern cryptologists like Zimmerman and Schneier but failed to mention that it was Leonardo who had invented one of the first rudimentary forms of public key encryption centuries ago. Sophieís grandfather, of course, had been the one to tell her that.

Groovey, groovey.. but seriously.. what is this?!!

First of all, according to the novel Sophie†studied information security at Royal Holloway, so the instructors Dan is talking about are the Royal Holloway’s instructors… and as a Royal Holloway’s ISG†MSc holder with distinction†and current PhD student there, I have to say that according to what is claimed in this paragraph YES they failed teaching her that rubbish!! they might taught her the “real”†stuff†as they do in the real world…!

Phil Zimmerman and Bruce Schneier are modern cryptologists?!
Well as far as I know, Schneier designed the twofish algorithm, however he is known more as a writer and information security expert, his main “thing” is†writing articles and books, he wrote many good books like (Applied Cryptography) and (Secrets & Lies)…
Whereas Zimmerman is not a cryptologist at all!! he is known as the developer of the eminent software PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), and in that†software he used some well-known cryptographic algorithms like Elgamal…†Zimmerman†did not develop, design nor criticise any cryptographic algorithms, and for more information about Zimmerman cryptographic capabilities†I’d recommend†a book named (Crypto) written by Steven Levy…

The†Leonardo’s cryptex as come in the Da Vinci Code†movie†

“it was Leonardo who had invented one of the first rudimentary forms of public key encryption centuries ago”… If Dan is talking here about the Leonardo Da Vinci’s “cryptex” then he must be kidding!!
Cryptex is nothing more than tamper-proof box secured by an alphabetical buzzell!!
in that box there is a letter, if you scroll the right key the box will be opened and you get the letter, and if you try to open the box by force without scrolling the key, a vinegar inside the same box will split on the letter and ruin it.. that is†pretty much it!
I can’t see where is the public key encryption in this technique!

Finally, Mr Dan… this is what we studied at Royal Holloway:
Whitfield Diffie and Martin E. Hellman are the first cryptologists talking about the possibility of designing a cipher system that is built on two keys! and that was in their seminal paper “New Directions in Cryptography” published is 1976 (
press here†to get the†paper)…
Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman (RSA)†designed the first public key cipher system in 1977…
Taher Elgamal designed another public key cipher system in 1984…

Mr Dan.. since you tried to mention modern cryptologisits and failed… and since you know†precisely where Royal Holloway is.. I think you should meet the Royal Holloway’s Fred Piper.. “The” Fred Piper.. I think he would†kindly†teach you more about cryptography and cryptologists!!