Hacking of an entanglement-based QKD system

02.05.2018, 16:30 – 17:30

02.05.2018 16:30-17:30

Speaker: Jonathan Jogenfors, Linköping University | Location: Schlossgartenstraße 7 (S2|15), Handbibliothek IAP, Room 134, Darmstadt

Organizer: Oleg Nikiforov, TU Darmstadt


Photonic systems based on energy-time entanglement have been proposed to test local realism using the Bell inequality. A violation of this inequality normally also certifies security of device-independent quantum key distribution (QKD) so that an attacker cannot eavesdrop or control the system. We show how this security test can be circumvented in energy-time entangled systems when using standard avalanche photodetectors, allowing an attacker to compromise the system without leaving a trace. We reach Bell values up to 3.63 at 97.6% faked detector efficiency using tailored pulses of classical light, which exceeds even the quantum prediction. This is the first demonstration of a violation-faking source that gives both tunable violation and high faked detector efficiency. The implications are severe: the standard Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt inequality cannot be used to show device-independent security for energy-time entanglement setups based on Franson’s configuration. However, device-independent security can be reestablished, and we conclude by listing a number of improved tests and experimental setups that would protect against all current and future attacks of this type.

Short Bio

Jonathan Jogenfors defended his PhD thesis in quantum cryptography and and blockchain technology from Linköping University in November 2017. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at the Information Coding Group, Department of Electrical Engineering in information security and quantum cryptography. He also works at Sectra Communications AB as Research Manager.