About …

Cryptosmith name with key

Cryptosmith Institute is a retirement-time enterprise of Dr. Rick Smith, author of Elementary Information Security (Jones and Bartlett, 2011, 2015, 2021), Internet Cryptography (Addison-Wesley, 1997) and Authentication: From Passwords to Public Keys (Addison-Wesley, 2002). Rick occasionally teaches in the MSSE program at the University of Minnesota. Previously he taught at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and Boston University.

Contact information is available on a separate page.

Topics covered on this web site are strongly influenced by Dr. Smith’s experiences with large scale information security problems, with the information security challenges of the defense community, and with the materials addressed in his books.


This particular Rick Smith/Cryptosmith is not, nor has ever been any of the following:

  • The CEO of Equifax, who stepped down after their databases were hacked
  • A consultant for the ACLU in New York
  • A golf pro
  • A pro hockey player
  • A promoter of cryptocurrencies

I will add to this list as needed.

Brief Bio

I first tried program as a preteen when my dad handed me an IBM 705 assembly language manual. I didn’t really learn to code until college (American U, then Boston U), and then learned a new assembly language every 18 months or so for the next several years. I also picked up the usual high-level languages of the period. My favorite is still Lisp, though I don’t use languages much any more.

My graduate school experience (University of Minnesota) mostly took place in the basement of Mechanical Engineering, researching robotics under Maria Gini. I lashed together a VAX running Lisp on BSD Unix, a first-generation Macintosh, and an IBM “minicomputer” controlling a massive Cartesian robot (I wonder if that beast is still there).

My career has touched many technologies that regrettably contribute to our modern dystopia. These include speech recognition, computer internetworking, AI, robotics, cybersecurity, network access restrictions, anonymity, traffic interception, cryptography, and others I’ve managed to forget.

These projects were particularly interesting:

  • Multiprogrammed microcode for custom speech recognition hardware
  • Protocol translation software for ARPANET routers (terminals, X.25)
  • Failure analysis, detection, and recovery for Cartesian robots
  • A high-security email bridge between classified and unclassified networks
  • Verification for a “do all the algorithms” military crypto module
  • Starting the cybersecurity degree program at a local university
  • Crypto patent research for lawsuits
  • NSA training certification for my textbook
  • Starting and running a licensed online career school

I also enjoyed writing the 3 books:

  • Internet Cryptography
  • Authentication
  • Elementary Information Security