Regarding Bruen's Review of Disappearing Cryptography

To the Editor:

I would like to thank Bob Bruen and CIPHER for reviewing my book Disappearing Cryptography. Hiding information is an important technique that can have many practical applications and I hope my book will help people understand the topic.

One point needs to be clarified. The primary reason my publisher and I chose the title "Disappearing Cryptography" is most people with a background in computer science don't know what "steganography" means.

But I also incorporate the word "cryptography" to make a larger point. Some of the algorithms I present are not just "security through obscurity." There are plenty of theoretical and practical reasons why some of the algorithms can present hard-to-break security as well as obscurity. The algorithms aren't just mathematical equivalents to microdots and hidden compartments, they can be mathematical safes as well.

While it is hard to ever offer any guarantees of cryptographic strength, I think that many of the algorithms could prove to be quite secure over time. There are some preliminary theoretical indications that suggest they could very strong. Of course, theory is not the same as practice and I could easily be proven wrong. Widespread study is the only practical measure of cryptographic strength and I hope my book will make these subjects interesting to a number of researchers.

Thank you again.

-Peter Wayner