Howdy all!! Back again for another review. This time it is gonna be for the Digital Fortress. In fact I had read it long back but just thought of reading some reviews and find out what the other readers felt about it. I am surprised seeing the few reviews. Looks like Da Vinci code has got the major part of the cake in terms of the number of reviews followed by Angels & Demons. The title I have chosen is one of the simple codes explained in the Digital Fortress.
I bought the book at the Hyderabad airport for around Rs. 350. In fact I bought all the three of them Angels & Demons, Digital Fortress and Deception Point which completed my Dan Brown Collection.
Even before starting the book and name kinda suggested something in the cyber domain and my expectation was not totally wrong. The book deals with cryptography and code braking by (the ever popular theme of English Movies) the NSA (National Secret Agency) or as the book suggests No such Agency. They are supposed to be some ”Gods” of the internet world who monitor all the mails and telephone calls around the globe to protect America’s security (gimme break, as if the whole world is bent on destroying US).
The theme is basically about a gigantic machine built by the NSA that can crack encryptions of any length through Brute Force Attack (eeps looks like I am going technical!!) using millions of processors for the best speed and shortest time possible to break the code… any code of any email around the world!!! The book is a rush of ciphers, algorithms and the likes such as clear text and rotating clear text and futuristic computers and communication techniques .
The head cryptographer of the NSA is called for breaking a certain code that is supposedly unbreakable. Smug Susan is shocked when she finds that the code really is unbreakable and the whole story is about the search for its key to unlock the code. Coded by genius and cult hacker, Tankado who was part of the NSA team but was removed when he condemned the making of the translator saying it was an attack on privacy of the people around the globe. Tankado also has a partner who is supposed to release the key in the internet free if anything happened to Tankado meaning a new algorithm standard beyond the scope of translator. When Tankado is found dead in Spain, Susan’s boyfriend David who is
a language specialist goes on a separate mission to find the ring that is assumed to contain the key to the code. What happens to David? Do they get to the partner before the death of Tankado reaches him? Do they break the code? Well you can read the book 😛
The book gives an insight to some terms of the algorithm world and rules such as the impossibility of an unbreakable code if the right computer exists and also the unbreakable code that forms the central theme is compared to a safe which is unbreakable with the secret of the safe within the safe itself. The terms are quite enlightening and Dan Brown as always has done his research, a very thorough job I must say to bring this novel to its immaculate completion. One can feel the astounding research done by the author in the very words in the novel. The plot is racy and fast but does seem to lose its flavour especially in the adventures of David where the plot takes on a cinematographic element for keeping the excitement. But
all in all a brilliant read and a book that cannot be put down before its finished. The book even gives an insight as to the history of ciphers and also solves one in the book using a cipher supposedly invented by Julius Caeser. There are so many facts in the book staring right at you but still missed because of the plot and its astounding when it is revealed in the last.
For the Non- Technical folks!!
I am not a geek in computers but I have tried to explain Brute Force attack in laymans’ terms. Brute Force Attack is a method of breaking encryptions by permutations and combinations of various keys till a possible password is reached. It’s basically trying out all the letters and characters and keep trying all the possible combinations till the correct one is found. Seems time consuming doesn’t it? However for a computer with a million processors working together,the one that is described in the book, its a piece of cake.
Interestingly, even reading the inspiration source for this book in Dan Brown’s own worlds is a revelation by itself.