Gonzalez, Elias (2016-08). Information Theoretically Secure Enhanced Johnson Noise Based Key Distribution over the Smart Grid. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • The imperative need for unconditionally secure key exchange is caused by the increasing connectivity of networks and by the increasing number and level of sophistication of cyberattacks. Two concepts that are information theoretically secured are quantum key distribution (QKD) and Kirchhoff-Law-Johnson-Noise (KLJN). However, these concepts require a dedicated connection between hosts in peer-to-peer (P2P) networks which can be impractical and/or cost prohibitive. A practical and cost effective method is to have each host share their respective cable(s) with other hosts such that two remote hosts can realize a secure key exchange without the need of an additional cable or key exchanger. We introduce a protocol for linear chain networks with a reconfigurable filter system to create non-overlapping single loops in the smart power grid for the realization of the Kirchhoff-Law-Johnson-(like)-Noise secure key distribution system. The protocol is valid for one-dimensional daisy chain networks (chain-like power line) which are typical of the electric distribution network between the utility and the customer. The speed of the protocol (the number of steps needed) versus grid size is analyzed. When properly generalized, such a system has the potential to achieve unconditionally secure key distribution over the smart power grid of arbitrary geometrical dimensions. In this work we also analyze the cost complexities of cable, key exchangers, and time required in the star network. We mention the reliability of the star network and compare it with other network geometries. We also conceived a protocol and equation for the number of secure bit exchange periods needed in a star network. We then outline other network geometries and trade-off possibilities that seem interesting to explore. We also propose a new key exchange trust evaluation for peer-to-peer sensor networks, where part of the network has unconditionally secure key exchange. As the utilization of sensor networks continues to increase, the importance of security becomes more profound. Many industries depend on sensor networks for critical tasks, and a malicious entity can potentially cause catastrophic damage. For a given sensor, the higher the portion of channels with unconditionally secure key exchange, the higher the trust value. We give a brief introduction to unconditionally secured key exchange concepts and mention current trust measures in sensor networks. We demonstrate the new key exchange trust measure on a hypothetical sensor network using both wired and wireless communication channels.

publication date

  • August 2016