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Journal Articles Theoretical Computer Science Year : 2014

Using quantum key distribution for cryptographic purposes: a survey

Jan Bouda
  • Function : Author
Nicolas Gisin
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Thomas Langer
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Christian Monyk
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Momtchil Peev
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Andreas Poppe
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Gregoire Ribordy
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Harald Weinfurter
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The appealing feature of quantum key distribution (QKD), from a cryptographic viewpoint, is the ability to prove the information-theoretic security (ITS) of the established keys. As a key establishment primitive, QKD however does not provide a standalone security service in its own: the secret keys established by QKD are in general then used by a subsequent cryptographic applications for which the requirements, the context of use and the security properties can vary. It is therefore important, in the perspective of integrating QKD in security infrastructures, to analyze how QKD can be combined with other cryptographic primitives. The purpose of this survey article, which is mostly centered on European research results, is to contribute to such an analysis. We first review and compare the properties of the existing key establishment techniques, QKD being one of them. We then study more specifically two generic scenarios related to the practical use of QKD in cryptographic infrastructures: 1) using QKD as a key renewal technique for a symmetric cipher over a point-to-point link; 2) using QKD in a network containing many users with the objective of offering any-to-any key establishment service. We discuss the constraints as well as the potential interest of using QKD in these contexts. We finally give an overview of challenges relative to the development of QKD technology that also constitute potential avenues for cryptographic research.

Dates and versions

hal-01712569 , version 1 (19-02-2018)



Romain Alleaume, Cyril Branciard, Jan Bouda, Thierry Debuisschert, Mehrdad Dianati, et al.. Using quantum key distribution for cryptographic purposes: a survey. Theoretical Computer Science, 2014, 560 (1), pp.62 - 81. ⟨10.1016/j.tcs.2014.09.018⟩. ⟨hal-01712569⟩
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