The case for quantum key distribution

Flow chart of the stages of a quantum key distribution protocol.


Quantum key distribution (QKD) promises secure key agreement by using quantum mechanical systems. We argue that QKD will be an important part of future cryptographic infrastructures. It can provide long-term confidentiality for encrypted information without reliance on computational assumptions. Although QKD still requires authentication to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, it can make use of either information-theoretically secure symmetric key authentication or computationally secure public key authentication: even when using public key authentication, we argue that QKD still offers stronger security than classical key agreement.

Keywords: quantum key distribution


Douglas Stebila, Michele Mosca, Norbert Lütkenhaus. The case for quantum key distribution. In Alexander Sergienki, Saverio Pascazio, Paolo Villoresi, editors, Proc. 1st International Conference on Quantum Communication and Quantum Networking (QuantumComm) 2009, Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, vol. 36, pp. 283-296. Springer, October 2009. © Springer.




This research was supported by:
  • NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship
  • Sun Microsystems Laboratories
  • Canada Research Chair
  • Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)
  • Natural Sciences and Enginering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada
  • QuantumWorks
  • Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
  • Ontario Research Fund