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Proceedings Paper

Quantum key distribution security threat: the backflash light case
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Paper Abstract

Quantum key distribution (QKD)1 is a quantum technology already present in the market. This technology will become an essential point to secure our communication systems and infrastructure when today’s public key cryptography will be broken by either a mathematical algorithm or by, eventually, the development of quantum computers. One of the main task of quantum metrology and standardization in the next future is ensuring that QKD apparatus works as expected, and appropriate countermeasures against quantum hacking are taken. In this paper, we discuss the security of one of the QKD most critical (and quantum-hackered) components, i.e., single photon detectors based on fiber-pigtailed InGaAs SPADs. We analyze their secondary photon emission (backflash light) that can be exploited by an eavesdropper (Eve) to gain information without introducing errors in the key. We observed a significant light leakage from the detection event of fiber-pigtailed InGaAs SPADs. This may represent a significant security threat in all QKD apparatus. We provide a method to quantify the amount of potential information leakage, and we propose a solution to fix this potential security bug in practical QKD apparatus.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 May 2018
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10674, Quantum Technologies 2018, 1067418 (21 May 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2307704
Show Author Affiliations
A. Meda, Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (Italy)
I. P. Degiovanni, Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (Italy)
A. Tosi, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Z. L. Yuan, Toshiba Research Europe Ltd. (United Kingdom)
G. Brida, Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (Italy)
M. Genovese, Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10674:
Quantum Technologies 2018
Jürgen Stuhler; Andrew J. Shields; Miles J. Padgett, Editor(s)

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