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Proceedings Paper

Quantum hacking: attacking practical quantum key distribution systems
Author(s): Bing Qi; Chi-Hang Fred Fung; Yi Zhao; Xiongfeng Ma; Kiyoshi Tamaki; Christine Chen; Hoi-Kwong Lo
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Paper Abstract

Quantum key distribution (QKD) can, in principle, provide unconditional security based on the fundamental laws of physics. Unfortunately, a practical QKD system may contain overlooked imperfections and violate some of the assumptions in a security proof. Here, we report two types of eavesdropping attacks against a practical QKD system. The first one is "time-shift" attack, which is applicable to QKD systems with gated single photon detectors (SPDs). In this attack, the eavesdropper, Eve, exploits the time mismatch between the open windows of the two SPDs. She can acquire a significant amount of information on the final key by simply shifting the quantum signals forwards or backwards in time domain. Our experimental results in [9] with a commercial QKD system demonstrate that, under this attack, the original QKD system is breakable. This is the first experimental demonstration of a feasible attack against a commercial QKD system. This is a surprising result. The second one is "phase-remapping" attack [10]. Here, Eve exploits the fact that a practical phase modulator has a finite response time. In principle, Eve could change the encoded phase value by time-shifting the signal pulse relative to the reference pulse.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 September 2007
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 6710, Quantum Communications and Quantum Imaging V, 67100I (25 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.730776
Show Author Affiliations
Bing Qi, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Chi-Hang Fred Fung, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Yi Zhao, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Xiongfeng Ma, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Kiyoshi Tamaki, NTT Corp. (Japan)
Christine Chen, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Hoi-Kwong Lo, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6710:
Quantum Communications and Quantum Imaging V
Ronald E. Meyers; Yanhua Shih; Keith S. Deacon, Editor(s)

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