This Cryptopath starts from introducing the cryptography and is upto research level!!!
Here it starts into crypto life ..
Very first intro can be had from ..
http://www.ssh.com/support/cryptography/introduction/ Gives u the primary idea about what is what in crypto ..
Gives intro with a some technical stuff
Little more clearly ..
then another intro ( do not try to understand everything there .. just read it to get an idea )
Remember .. Whenever doubts arise in between .. then goto .. RSA faq (available online)
Had enough intros ..
anything interesting in crypto ???
So now let us enter into real crypto world ..
Depending on the back ground topics: U can decide ur career in crypto: by reading the respective books!
If Computer Sc: Complexity Theory, Formal Languages, Security protocols, r the favorites in crypto
LectureNotes of S.GoldWasser and M.Bellare (available Online!)
The Foundations of Cryptography by Oded Goldreich (available Online!)
If Electronics & Communication: Network Security Protocols is the hot topic in crypto
Cryptography and Network Security by William Stallings
If Mathematics: DHP, DLP, ECC cryptography are some of the interesting elementary topics of crypto
A course in Number Theory and Cryptography by N. Koblitz
Cryptography: Theory and practice by D R stinson
Public-Key Cryptography by Arto Salomaa
If Physics: Quantum Cryptography
No good books .. one can go for research articles on quantum crypto
http://www.qubit.org/oldsite/intros/crypt.html Gives elementary intro and from references one can enter
into the subject
If Biology: DNA Cryptography, Biometrics r the favorites in crypto
No good books .. one can read following basic papers
No problem .. just go by the folowing general (& the best ) crypto books :
Applied Cryptography by Bruce Schneier
Very good collection of crypto books in a cd format is available from Dr. Dobbs (can be had from
any online bookshop .. for example: http://www.parkway.co.uk/cd/crypto.htm)
Reserach papers of crypto (crypto and eurocrypt proceedings 1981-97) is available from International Association for Cryptologic Research in a cd format (http://www.iacr.org/cd/).
Many more research papers (and also intro articles too) r available online in authors sites ..
or some e-print servers .. find out them using google.com (Simply the best search engine)
To read background topics of cryptography:
Algorithms and Complexity by Wilf