Lars Lydersen

University Graduate Center at Kjeller (UNIK), Norway

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Publications (17)105.68 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We propose a class of attacks on quantum key distribution (QKD) systems where an eavesdropper actively engineers new loopholes by using damaging laser illumination to permanently change properties of system components. This can turn a perfect QKD system into a completely insecure system. A proof-of-principle experiment performed on an avalanche photodiode-based detector shows that laser damage can be used to create loopholes. After ∼1 W illumination, the detectors' dark count rate reduces 2-5 times, permanently improving single-photon counting performance. After ∼1.5 W, the detectors switch permanently into the linear photodetection mode and become completely insecure for QKD applications.
    Physical Review Letters 02/2014; 112(7):070503. · 7.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We consider error correction in quantum key distribution. To avoid that Alice and Bob unwittingly end up with different keys precautions must be taken. Before running the error correction protocol, Bob and Alice normally sacrifice some bits to estimate the error rate. To reduce the probability that they end up with different keys to an acceptable level, we show that a large number of bits must be sacrificed. Instead, if Alice and Bob can make a good guess about the error rate before the error correction, they can verify that their keys are similar after the error correction protocol. This verification can be done by utilizing properties of Low Density Parity Check codes used in the error correction. We compare the methods and show that by verification it is often possible to sacrifice less bits without compromising security. The improvement is heavily dependent on the error rate and the block length, but for a key produced by the IdQuantique system Clavis^2, the increase in the key rate is approximately 5 percent. We also show that for systems with large fluctuations in the error rate a combination of the two methods is optimal.
    IET Information Security 10/2012; · 0.63 Impact Factor
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    Lars Lydersen, Vadim Makarov, Johannes Skaar
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract unavailable.
    Applied Physics Letters 11/2011; 99(19):196101-196101-1. · 3.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We control using bright light an actively-quenched avalanche single-photon detector. Actively-quenched detectors are commonly used for quantum key distribution (QKD) in the visible and near-infrared range. This study shows that these detectors are controllable by the same attack used to hack passively-quenched and gated detectors. This demonstrates the generality of our attack and its possible applicability to eavsdropping the full secret key of all QKD systems using avalanche photodiodes (APDs). Moreover, the commercial detector model we tested (PerkinElmer SPCM-AQR) exhibits two new blinding mechanisms in addition to the previously observed thermal blinding of the APD, namely: malfunctioning of the bias voltage control circuit, and overload of the DC/DC converter biasing the APD. These two new technical loopholes found just in one detector model suggest that this problem must be solved in general, by incorporating generally imperfect detectors into the security proof for QKD.
    Optics Express 11/2011; 19(23):23590-600. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Characterizing the physical channel and calibrating the cryptosystem hardware are prerequisites for establishing a quantum channel for quantum key distribution (QKD). Moreover, an inappropriately implemented calibration routine can open a fatal security loophole. We propose and experimentally demonstrate a method to induce a large temporal detector efficiency mismatch in a commercial QKD system by deceiving a channel length calibration routine. We then devise an optimal and realistic strategy using faked states to break the security of the cryptosystem. A fix for this loophole is also suggested.
    Physical Review Letters 09/2011; 107(11):110501. · 7.73 Impact Factor
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    Dag Roar Hjelme, Lars Lydersen, Vadim Makarov
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    ABSTRACT: This is a chapter on quantum cryptography for the book "A Multidisciplinary Introduction to Information Security" to be published by CRC Press in 2011/2012. The chapter aims to introduce the topic to undergraduate-level and continuing-education students specializing in information and communication technology.
    08/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: We experimentally demonstrate that a superconducting nanowire single-photon detector is deterministically controllable by bright illumination. We found that bright light can temporarily make a large fraction of the nanowire length normally-conductive, can extend deadtime after a normal photon detection, and can cause a hotspot formation during the deadtime with a highly nonlinear sensitivity. In result, although based on different physics, the superconducting detector turns out to be controllable by virtually the same techniques as avalanche photodiode detectors. As demonstrated earlier, when such detectors are used in a quantum key distribution system, this allows an eavesdropper to launch a detector control attack to capture the full secret key without being revealed by to many errors in the key.
    New Journal of Physics 06/2011; 13(11). · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We introduce the concept of a superlinear threshold detector, a detector that has a higher probability to detect multiple photons if it receives them simultaneously rather than at separate times. Highly superlinear threshold detectors in quantum key distribution systems allow eavesdropping the full secret key without being revealed. Here, we generalize the detector control attack, and analyze how it performs against quantum key distribution systems with moderately superlinear detectors. We quantify the superlinearity in superconducting single-photon detectors based on earlier published data, and gated avalanche photodiode detectors based on our own measurements. The analysis shows that quantum key distribution systems using detector(s) of either type can be vulnerable to eavesdropping. The avalanche photodiode detector becomes superlinear towards the end of the gate, allowing eavesdropping using trigger pulses containing less than 120 photons per pulse. Such an attack would be virtually impossible to catch with an optical power meter at the receiver entrance.
    Physical Review A 06/2011; 84. · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We propose and experimentally demonstrate a method to induce a large temporal detector efficiency mismatch in a commercial quantum key distribution system, paving the path for a successful faked-state attack.
    05/2011;
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    L. Lydersen, J. Skaar, V. Makarov
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    ABSTRACT: Detector control attacks on quantum key distribution systems exploit the linear mode of avalanche photodiode in single photon detectors. So far, the protocols under consideration have been the BB84 protocol and its derivatives. Here we present how bright tailored illumination exploiting the linear mode of detectors can be used to eavesdrop on distributed-phase-reference protocols, such as differential-phase-shift and coherent-one-way.
    Journal of Modern Optics 05/2011; 58(8):680-685. · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    Lars Lydersen, Vadim Makarov, Johannes Skaar
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    ABSTRACT: Several attacks have been proposed on quantum key distribution systems with gated single-photon detectors. The attacks involve triggering the detectors outside the center of the detector gate, and/or using bright illumination to exploit classical photodiode mode of the detectors. Hence a secure detection scheme requires two features: The detection events must take place in the middle of the gate, and the detector must be single-photon sensitive. Here we present a technique called bit-mapped gating, which is an elegant way to force the detections in the middle of the detector gate by coupling detection time and quantum bit error rate. We also discuss how to guarantee single-photon sensitivity by directly measuring detector parameters. Bit-mapped gating also provides a simple way to measure the detector blinding parameter in security proofs for quantum key distribution systems with detector efficiency mismatch, which up until now has remained a theoretical, unmeasurable quantity. Thus if single-photon sensitivity can be guaranteed within the gates, a detection scheme with bit-mapped gating satisfies the assumptions of the current security proofs.
    Physical Review A 01/2011; 83. · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This is a reply to the comment by Yuan et al. [arXiv:1009.6130v1] on our publication [arXiv:1008.4593]. Comment: 1 page
    Nature Photonics 12/2010; · 29.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has previously been shown that the gated detectors of two commercially available quantum key distribution (QKD) systems are blindable and controllable by an eavesdropper using continuous-wave illumination and short bright trigger pulses, manipulating voltages in the circuit [Nat. Photonics 4, 686 (2010)]. This allows for an attack eavesdropping the full raw and secret key without increasing the quantum bit error rate (QBER). Here we show how thermal effects in detectors under bright illumination can lead to the same outcome. We demonstrate that the detectors in a commercial QKD system Clavis2 can be blinded by heating the avalanche photo diodes (APDs) using bright illumination, so-called thermal blinding. Further, the detectors can be triggered using short bright pulses once they are blind. For systems with pauses between packet transmission such as the plug-and-play systems, thermal inertia enables Eve to apply the bright blinding illumination before eavesdropping, making her more difficult to catch.
    Optics Express 12/2010; 18(26):27938-54. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a method to control the detection events in quantum key distribution systems that use gated single-photon detectors. We employ bright pulses as faked states, timed to arrive at the avalanche photodiodes outside the activation time. The attack can remain unnoticed, since the faked states do not increase the error rate per se. This allows for an intercept-resend attack, where an eavesdropper transfers her detection events to the legitimate receiver without causing any errors. As a side effect, afterpulses, originating from accumulated charge carriers in the detectors, increase the error rate. We have experimentally tested detectors of the system id3110 (Clavis2) from ID Quantique. We identify the parameter regime in which the attack is feasible despite the side effect. Furthermore, we outline how simple modifications in the implementation can make the device immune to this attack.
    New Journal of Physics 09/2010; 13(1). · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The peculiar properties of quantum mechanics allow two remote parties to communicate a private, secret key, which is protected from eavesdropping by the laws of physics. So-called quantum key distribution (QKD) implementations always rely on detectors to measure the relevant quantum property of single photons. Here we demonstrate experimentally that the detectors in two commercially available QKD systems can be fully remote-controlled using specially tailored bright illumination. This makes it possible to tracelessly acquire the full secret key; we propose an eavesdropping apparatus built of off-the-shelf components. The loophole is likely to be present in most QKD systems using avalanche photodiodes to detect single photons. We believe that our findings are crucial for strengthening the security of practical QKD, by identifying and patching technological deficiencies.
    Nature Photonics 08/2010; 4(10). · 29.96 Impact Factor
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    Lars Lydersen, Johannes Skaar
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    ABSTRACT: We consider the security of the Bennett-Brassard 1984 (BB84) protocol for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), in the presence of bit and basis dependent detector flaws. We suggest a powerful attack that can be used in systems with detector efficiency mismatch, even if the detector assignments are chosen randomly by Bob. A security proof is provided, valid for any basis dependent, possibly lossy, linear optical imperfections in the channel/receiver/detectors. The proof does not assume the so-called squashing detector model.
    Quantum information & computation 01/2010; 10:60-76. · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We consider the security of the Bennett-Brassard 1984 (BB84) protocol for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), with arbitrary individual imperfections simultaneously in the source and detectors. We provide the secure key generation rate, and show that only two parameters must be bounded to ensure security; the basis dependence of the source and a detector blinding parameter. The system may otherwise be completely uncharacterized and contain large losses.
    Physical Review A 03/2009; · 2.99 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

336 Citations
105.68 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011
    • University Graduate Center at Kjeller (UNIK)
      Norway
    • Max-Planck-Institut für die Physik des Lichts
      • Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light
      Erlangen, Bavaria, Germany
    • University of Waterloo
      Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  • 2010–2011
    • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
      • Department of Electronics and Telecommunications (IET)
      Trondheim, Sor-Trondelag Fylke, Norway