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Homodyne detector blinding attack in continuous-variable quantum key distribution

Abstract : We propose an efficient strategy to attack a continuous-variable (CV) quantum key distribution (QKD) system, which we call homodyne detector blinding. This attack strategy takes advantage of a generic vulnerability of homodyne receivers: A bright light pulse sent on the signal port can lead to a saturation of the detector electronics. While detector saturation has already been proposed to attack CV QKD, the attack we study in this paper has the additional advantage of not requiring an eavesdropper to be phase locked with the homodyne receiver. We show that under certain conditions, an attacker can use a simple laser, incoherent with the homodyne receiver, to generate bright pulses and bias the excess noise to arbitrary small values, fully comprising CV QKD security. These results highlight the feasibility and the impact of the detector-blinding attack. We finally discuss how to design countermeasures in order to protect against this attack.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 13, 2019 - 5:37:50 PM
Last modification on : Monday, January 17, 2022 - 2:36:01 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-02288047, version 1


Hao Qin, Rupesh Kumar, Vadim Makarov, Romain Alleaume. Homodyne detector blinding attack in continuous-variable quantum key distribution. Physical Review A, American Physical Society, 2018, 012312. ⟨hal-02288047⟩



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