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Entropy 2019, 21(4), 387; https://doi.org/10.3390/e21040387

Satellite Quantum Communications When Man-in-the-Middle Attacks Are Excluded

1
Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543, Singapore
2
Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543, Singapore
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Long-Distance Quantum Communications)
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PDF [272 KB, uploaded 23 April 2019]
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Abstract

An application of quantum communications is the transmission of qubits to create shared symmetric encryption keys in a process called quantum key distribution (QKD). Contrary to public-private key encryption, symmetric encryption is considered safe from (quantum) computing attacks, i.e. it provides forward security and is thus attractive for secure communications. In this paper we argue that for free-space quantum communications, especially with satellites, if one assumes that man-in-the-middle attacks can be detected by classical channel monitoring techniques, simplified quantum communications protocols and hardware systems can be implemented that offer improved key rates. We term these protocols photon key distribution (PKD) to differentiate them from the standard QKD protocols. We identify three types of photon sources and calculate asymptotic secret key rates for PKD protocols and compare them to their QKD counterparts. PKD protocols use only one measurement basis which we show roughly doubles the key rates. Furthermore, with the relaxed security assumptions one can establish keys at very high losses, in contrast to QKD where at the same losses privacy amplification would make key generation impossible. View Full-Text
Keywords: quantum communication; quantum cryptography; quantum key distribution; satellite QKD; access control; threat model; photon key distribution; PKD quantum communication; quantum cryptography; quantum key distribution; satellite QKD; access control; threat model; photon key distribution; PKD
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Vergoossen, T.; Bedington, R.; Grieve, J.A.; Ling, A. Satellite Quantum Communications When Man-in-the-Middle Attacks Are Excluded. Entropy 2019, 21, 387.

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