Enhanced Usage of Keys Obtained by Physical, Unconditionally Secure Distributions Academic Article uri icon


  • Unconditionally secure physical key distribution schemes are very slow, and it is practically impossible to use a one-time-pad based cipher to guarantee unconditional security for the encryption of data because using the key bits more than once gives out statistical information, for example via the known-plain-text-attack or by utilizing known components of the protocol and language statistics. Here, we outline a protocol that reduces this speed problem and allows almost-one-time-pad based communication with an unconditionally secure physical key of finite length. The physical, unconditionally secure key is not used for data encryption but is employed in order to generate and share a new software-based key without any known-plain-text component. The software-only-based key distribution is then changed from computationally secure to unconditionally secure, because the communicated key-exchange data (algorithm parameters, one-way functions of random numbers, etc.) are encrypted in an unconditionally secure way with a one-time-pad. For practical applications, this combined physical/software key distribution based communication looks favorable compared to the software-only and physical-only key distribution based communication whenever the speed of the physical key distribution is much lower than that of the software-based key distribution. A mathematical security proof of this new scheme remains an open problem.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Kish, L. B., & Granqvist, C.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Kish, Laszlo B||Granqvist, Claes-Goran

publication date

  • June 2015