Protection against the man-in-the-middle-attack for the Kirchhoff-loop-Johnson(-like)-noise cipher and expansion by voltage-based security Academic Article uri icon


  • It is shown that the original Kirchhoff-loop-Johnson(-like)-noise (KLJN) cipher is naturally protected against the man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, if the eavesdropper is using resistors and noise voltage generators just like the sender and the receiver. The eavesdropper can extract zero bit of information before she is discovered. However, when the eavesdropper is using noise current generators, though the cipher is protected, the eavesdropper may still be able to extract one bit of information while she is discovered. For enhanced security, we expand the KLJN cipher with the comparison of the instantaneous voltages via the public channel. In this way, the sender and receiver has a full control over the security of measurable physical quantities in the Kirchhoff-loop. We show that when the sender and receiver compare not only their instantaneous current data but also their instantaneous voltage data then the zero-bit security holds even for the noise current generator case. We show that the original KLJN scheme is also zero-bit protected against that type of MITM attack when the eavesdropper uses voltage noise generators, only. In conclusion, within the idealized model scheme, the man-in-the-middle-attack does not provide any advantage compared to the regular attack considered earlier. The remaining possibility is the attack by a short, large current pulse, which described in the original paper as the only efficient type of regular attacks, and that yields the one bit security. In conclusion, the KLJN cipher is superior to known quantum communication schemes in every respect, including speed, robustness, maintenance need, price and its natural immunity against the man-in-the-middle attack.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Kish, L. B.

citation count

  • 57

complete list of authors

  • Kish, LB

publication date

  • March 2006