Quantum key distribution (QKD) can be used generate secret keys that are secure against any future algorithmic or computational improvements. QKD protocols still require authentication of classical communication, however, which is most easily achieved using computationally secure digital signature schemes. It is generally considered folklore that QKD when used with computationally secure authentication is still secure against an unbounded adversary, provided the adversary did not break the authentication during the run of the protocol.
We describe a security model for quantum key distribution based on traditional classical authenticated key exchange (AKE) security models. Using our model, we characterize the long-term security of the BB84 QKD protocol with computationally secure authentication against an eventually unbounded adversary. By basing our model on traditional AKE models, we can more readily compare the relative merits of various forms of QKD and existing classical AKE protocols. This comparison illustrates in which types of adversarial environments different quantum and classical key agreement protocols can be secure.Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / quantum key distribution Date: received 26 Jun 2012 Contact author: douglas at stebila ca Available formats: PDF | BibTeX Citation Version: 20120629:143917 (All versions of this report) Discussion forum: Show discussion | Start new discussion