The first Edition of Understanding Cryptography

The first edition of our book was published on December 10th, 2009. Understanding Cryptography has been adopted as textbook by hundreds of universities on all continents.


Dont’t take our word for it – here’s what our readers say:

[…] Mainly targeting undergraduate students, the book gives a good understandable introduction to cryptography. Most importantly, this book does not make any assumptions on prior knowledge in neither mathematics nor computer science. It is therefore not only suited for undergraduate students in mathematics or in the computer science field, but rather also for students from other domains requiring crypto skills such as legal people for example.
[…] Its strength is really its ability to explain the complex content in an easy understandable but yet accurate manner.
[…] It is really hard to find negativ points or disadvantages of the present book.

Luigi Lo Iacono

European University of Applied Sciences, on

I came across this book on accident; I was googling around for articles by Preneel and found this book, in which he wrote the foreword. Frankly, I hope this book eventually replaces most, if not all of the mainstream texts on cryptography. My only complaint about this book is that I no longer feel like one of the rare geniuses that thoroughly and completely understands cryptography. Thanks to this book, any dummy off the street can understand cryptography nearly as well as I do and they do not need a computer science or math degree. No prerequisite knowledge is required, other than the ability to read but there is plenty of math if you want to study it. […]

Mike G.


I used the book “Understanding Cryptography” as text book for a basic course in cryptography. It is execellent structured, compact and clearly written and reaches the goal to be “Understandable”. It offers a basic course, but it opens many possibilities to deepen the content and to explain the mathematical background. It fills a gap of well known cryptographic bestsellers, which are too detailled for a basic course. It is suitable also for engineers and students, who want to learn actual cryptography by self study. It contains the cryptographic mechanisms and algorithms, which are (or should be) used today (2010), for example presenting Elliptic Curve Cryptography not as an exotic cryptography, but as state of the art. Thanks to the authors, also for the well designed exercises.

Christoph Ruland

University of Siegen, Germany, on

For all odd numbered problems, we provide a manual.

For instructors, a manual with solutions to all problems can be ordered free of charge from the authors.

Archive of slides summarizing the content of each chapter. 

For instructors, slides are also available as ppt.