Cryptonomicon: the ultimate computer geek novel - Reading Aids

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (1999)

As a computer science geek the novel was a lot of fun. There are two arcing story lines, one during World War II and one during the 1990s. The book is a wide mix of hacking technology, code breaking techniques, mathematical proofs, infantry action, submarine action, a start-up business, decentralized digital currency and a bike ride with Alan Turing. Stephenson is not afraid to go into a couple page of details about SSH then the next chapter is a US Marine in the Battle of Manila. As I read it on the kindle I had no idea about the length of the book but take notice it comes in at over 900 pages. Amazon Link.

After reading I was left with an the problem of sorting out fact from fiction. Below are some links to help the reader

Solitaire Cryptosystem

More details about some of the Perl code found in the novel. Solitaire (Pontifex) cipher by Bruce Schneier. Check out a C# Implementation of the Solitaire (aka Pontifex) Encryption Algorithm

The Turing Problem by RadioLab

A great radio podcast about Alan Turing fascinating but tragic life. First aired on Monday, March 19, 2012


Fort Drum Philippines

Great picture. flickr slideshow


The oldest district and historic core of Manila, Philippines. View a flickr slideshow on the city where some of the action takes place.

Battle of Manila - 1945

"The Battle of Manila, also known as the Liberation of Manila, fought from 3 February to 3 March 1945 by American, Filipino and Japanese forces, was part of the 1945 Philippine campaign. The one-month battle, which culminated in a terrible bloodbath and total devastation of the city, was the scene of the worst urban fighting in the Pacific theater, and ended almost three years of Japanese military occupation in the Philippines (1942–1945). The city's capture was marked as General Douglas MacArthur's key to victory in the campaign of reconquest." -Wikipedia

Van Eck phreaking

Van Eck phreaking is the process of eavesdropping on the contents of a CRT or LCD display by detecting its electromagnetic emissions. Get your tin foil hats out and prepare yourself for this fun video. There is some debate whether a Faraday cage can keep you safe or not. At least the physicists at StackExchange seem to think that the phreaking technique is possible

youtube video


Activist group advocating widespread use of strong cryptography as a route to social and political change. Many believe, despite the author's claims, that the "Secret Admirer's" mailing list is based on the Cypherpunk mailing list.

The Julian Assange Show: Cypherpunks, Part 1 (E8, p.1) HackerNews on the demise of cypherpunks


The FAQ on crypto-anarchism from the Cypherpunk mailing list. A bit dated since it was written in 1994. Of course you are already browsing this on the TOR browser, right?