Abstract

We explore bright-light control of superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) in the shunted configuration (a practical measure to avoid latching). In an experiment, we simulate an illumination pattern the SNSPD would receive in a typical quantum key distribution system under hacking attack. We show that it effectively blinds and controls the SNSPD. The transient blinding illumination lasts for a fraction of a microsecond and produces several deterministic fake clicks during this time. This attack does not lead to elevated timing jitter in the spoofed output pulse, and hence does not introduce significant errors. Five different SNSPD chip designs were tested. We consider possible countermeasures to this attack.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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2014

R. M. Heath, M. G. Tanner, A. Casaburi, M. G. Webster, L. San Emeterio Alvarez, W. Jiang, Z. H. Barber, R. J. Warburton, R. H. Hadfield, “Nano-optical observation of cascade switching in a parallel superconducting nanowire single photon detector,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 104, 063503 (2014).
[CrossRef]

A. N. Bugge, S. Sauge, A. M. M. Ghazali, J. Skaar, L. Lydersen, V. Makarov, “Laser damage helps the eavesdropper in quantum cryptography,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 070503 (2014).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2013

V. Burenkov, H. Xu, B. Qi, R. H. Hadfield, H.-K. Lo, “Investigations of afterpulsing and detection efficiency recovery in superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors,” J. Appl. Phys. 113, 213102 (2013).
[CrossRef]

M.-S. Jiang, S.-H. Sun, G.-Z. Tang, X.-C. Ma, C.-Y. Li, L.-M. Liang, “Intrinsic imperfection of self-differencing single-photon detectors harms the security of high-speed quantum cryptography systems,” Phys. Rev. A 88, 062335 (2013).
[CrossRef]

T. Honjo, M. Fujiwara, K. Shimizu, K. Tamaki, S. Miki, T. Yamashita, H. Terai, Z. Wang, M. Sasaki, “Countermeasure against tailored bright illumination attack for DPS-QKD,” Opt. Express 21, 2667–2673 (2013).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

M. Fujiwara, T. Honjo, K. Shimizu, K. Tamaki, M. Sasaki, “Characteristics of superconducting single photon detector in DPS-QKD system under bright illumination blinding attack,” Opt. Express 21, 6304–6312 (2013).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

F. Marsili, V. B. Verma, J. A. Stern, S. Harrington, A. E. Lita, T. Gerrits, I. Vayshenker, B. Baek, M. D. Shaw, R. P. Mirin, S. W. Nam, “Detecting single infrared photons with 93% system efficiency,” Nat. Photonics 7, 210–214 (2013).
[CrossRef]

2012

S. Barz, E. Kashefi, A. Broadbent, J. F. Fitzsimons, A. Zeilinger, P. Walther, “Demonstration of blind quantum computing,” Science 335, 303–308 (2012).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

C. M. Natarajan, M. G. Tanner, R. H. Hadfield, “Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors: physics and applications,” Supercond. Sci. Tech. 25, 063001 (2012).
[CrossRef]

M. G. Tanner, L. S. E. Alvarez, W. Jiang, R. J. Warburton, Z. H. Barber, R. H. Hadfield, “A superconducting nanowire single photon detector on lithium niobate,” Nanotechnology 23, 505201 (2012).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

H.-K. Lo, M. Curty, B. Qi, “Measurement-device-independent quantum key distribution,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 130503 (2012).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

S. L. Braunstein, S. Pirandola, “Side-channel-free quantum key distribution,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 130502 (2012).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

S. Wang, W. Chen, J.-F. Guo, Z.-Q. Yin, H.-W. Li, Z. Zhou, G.-C. Guo, Z.-F. Han, “2 GHz clock quantum key distribution over 260 km of standard telecom fiber,” Opt. Lett. 37, 1008–1010 (2012).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2011

M. Sasaki, M. Fujiwara, H. Ishizuka, W. Klaus, K. Wakui, M. Takeoka, S. Miki, T. Yamashita, Z. Wang, A. Tanaka, K. Yoshino, Y. Nambu, S. Takahashi, A. Tajima, A. Tomita, T. Domeki, T. Hasegawa, Y. Sakai, H. Kobayashi, T. Asai, K. Shimizu, T. Tokura, T. Tsurumaru, M. Matsui, T. Honjo, K. Tamaki, H. Takesue, Y. Tokura, J. F. Dynes, A. R. Dixon, A. W. Sharpe, Z. L. Yuan, A. J. Shields, S. Uchikoga, M. Legré, S. Robyr, P. Trinkler, L. Monat, J.-B. Page, G. Ribordy, A. Poppe, A. Allacher, O. Maurhart, T. Länger, M. Peev, A. Zeilinger, “Field test of quantum key distribution in the Tokyo QKD Network,” Opt. Express 19, 10387–10409 (2011).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

H. Weier, H. Krauss, M. Rau, M. Fürst, S. Nauerth, H. Weinfurter, “Quantum eavesdropping without interception: an attack exploiting the dead time of single-photon detectors,” New J. Phys. 13, 073024 (2011).
[CrossRef]

I. Gerhardt, Q. Liu, A. Lamas-Linares, J. Skaar, C. Kurtsiefer, V. Makarov, “Full-field implementation of a perfect eavesdropper on a quantum cryptography system,” Nat. Commun. 2, 349 (2011).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

L. Lydersen, M. K. Akhlaghi, A. H. Majedi, J. Skaar, V. Makarov, “Controlling a superconducting nanowire single-photon detector using tailored bright illumination,” New J. Phys. 13, 113042 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Z. L. Yuan, J. F. Dynes, A. J. Shields, “Resilience of gated avalanche photodiodes against bright illumination attacks in quantum cryptography,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 98, 231104 (2011).
[CrossRef]

L. Lydersen, V. Makarov, J. Skaar, “Comment on ‘Resilience of gated avalanche photodiodes against bright illumination attacks in quantum cryptography’,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 99, 196101 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Z. L. Yuan, J. F. Dynes, A. J. Shields, “Reply to “Comment on ‘Resilience of gated avalanche photodiodes against bright illumination attacks in quantum cryptography’”,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 99, 196102 (2011).
[CrossRef]

F. Marsili, F. Najafi, C. Herder, K. K. Berggren, “Electrothermal simulation of superconducting nanowire avalanche photodetectors,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 98, 093507 (2011).
[CrossRef]

L. Lydersen, J. Skaar, V. Makarov, “Tailored bright illumination attack on distributed-phase-reference protocols,” J. Mod. Opt. 58, 680–685 (2011).
[CrossRef]

F. Marsili, F. Najafi, E. Dauler, F. Bellei, X. L. Hu, M. Csete, R. J. Molnar, K. K. Berggren, “Single-photon detectors based on ultranarrow superconducting nanowires,” Nano Lett. 11, 2048–2053 (2011).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. A. O’Connor, M. G. Tanner, C. M. Natarajan, G. S. Buller, R. J. Warburton, S. Miki, Z. Wang, S. W. Nam, R. H. Hadfield, “Spatial dependence of output pulse delay in a niobium nitride nanowire superconducting single-photon detector,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 98, 201116 (2011).
[CrossRef]

P. J. Clarke, R. J. Collins, P. A. Hiskett, M. J. Garcia-Martinez, N. J. Krichel, A. McCarthy, M. G. Tanner, J. A. O’Connor, C. M. Natarajan, S. Miki, M. Sasaki, Z. Wang, M. Fujiwara, I. Rech, M. Ghioni, A. Gulinatti, R. H. Hadfield, P. D. Townsend, G. S. Buller, “Analysis of detector performance in a gigahertz clock rate quantum key distribution system,” New J. Phys. 13, 075008 (2011).
[CrossRef]

2010

A. R. Dixon, Z. L. Yuan, J. F. Dynes, A. W. Sharpe, A. J. Shields, “Continuous operation of high bit rate quantum key distribution,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 96, 161102 (2010).
[CrossRef]

L. Lydersen, C. Wiechers, C. Wittmann, D. Elser, J. Skaar, V. Makarov, “Hacking commercial quantum cryptography systems by tailored bright illumination,” Nat. Photonics 4, 686–689 (2010).
[CrossRef]

M. G. Tanner, C. M. Natarajan, V. K. Pottapenjara, J. A. O’Connor, R. J. Warburton, R. H. Hadfield, B. Baek, S. Nam, S. N. Dorenbos, E. B. Ureña, T. Zijlstra, T. M. Klapwijk, V. Zwiller, “Enhanced telecom wavelength single-photon detection with NbTiN superconducting nanowires on oxidized silicon,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 96, 221109 (2010).
[CrossRef]

H. Terai, S. Miki, T. Yamashita, K. Makise, Z. Wang, “Demonstration of single-flux-quantum readout operation for superconducting single-photon detectors,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 97, 112510 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Y. Liu, T.-Y. Chen, J. Wang, W.-Q. Cai, X. Wan, L.-K. Chen, J.-H. Wang, S.-B. Liu, H. Liang, L. Yang, C.-Z. Peng, K. Chen, Z.-B. Chen, J.-W. Pan, “Decoy-state quantum key distribution with polarized photons over 200 km,” Opt. Express 18, 8587–8594 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

I. Choi, R. J. Young, P. D. Townsend, “Quantum key distribution on a 10Gb/s WDM-PON,” Opt. Express 18, 9600–9612 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

L. Lydersen, C. Wiechers, C. Wittmann, D. Elser, J. Skaar, V. Makarov, “Thermal blinding of gated detectors in quantum cryptography,” Opt. Express 18, 27938–27954 (2010).
[CrossRef]

2009

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Figures (5)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Experimental setup. SNSPD is cooled to 3.5K in a closed-cycle refrigerator, custom designed around a Cryomech PT-403 pulse tube cold head, and connected to room-temperature electronics via ∼ 1m long 50Ω coaxial cable. The electronics consists of the bias and readout circuits. The bias circuit is composed of a battery-powered low-noise voltage source (Stanford Research Systems SIM928), 100kΩ resistor converting voltage into bias current, two voltmeters (Stanford Research Systems SIM970), and low-pass filter (Mini-Circuits BLP-1.9+). The bias current is applied to the SNSPD via the direct-current (DC) port of a bias tee (Picosecond Pulse Labs 5575A-104, 10kHz–12GHz radio-frequency (RF) port bandwidth). The readout circuit uses two radio-frequency amplifiers (RF Bay LNA-580, 23dB gain 10–580MHz bandwidth, and RF Bay LNA-1000, 33dB gain 10MHz–1GHz bandwidth), and a DC block (Mini-Circuits BLK-18-S+, 10MHz–18GHz bandwidth). The pulses are registered by either a counter (Agilent 53131A) or an oscilloscope (Agilent Infiniium DSO80804A, 8GHz 40Gsamples/s). The SNSPD is illuminated via a single-mode fiber (Corning SMF28e) shown in red, by light formed by the faked-state generator. The latter consists of a pulse pattern generator (Agilent 81110A), two 1550nm semiconductor laser diodes (one Thorlabs LPS-1550-FC and one Thorlabs LPSC-1550-FC), two optical variable attenuators (Hewlett-Packard 8156A) and a 50:50 ratio fiber beamsplitter providing two identical optical outputs. One output is connected to the SNSPD, while the other is monitored with a classical photodetector (Thorlabs DET01CFC, DC–1.2GHz bandwidth).

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Output pulses from the experimental setup described in Fig. 1 under normal single-photon illumination (red trace) and under bright-light illumination manipulating the detector (black trace). Laser illumination for the blinded case is illustrated by the plot shading. Time t = 0ns is the point at which the fake output pulse is triggered.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Simulated control diagrams two detectors would receive inside Bob whose scheme allows to redistribute optical power between the detectors (i.e., measurement scheme of the first category in Section 3.1). Detectors are controlled through blinding with a bright laser pulse at time t = −200ns, followed by variation of the blinding laser power by −20dB on detector 0, and corresponding variation of +3dB on detector 1. Optical power at both detectors during the attack is shown in oscilloscope traces (a) and (d), while analog detector outputs are shown in oscilloscope traces (b) and (e). Corresponding logic pulses obtained by passing the analog signal through a 50% fixed-threshold discriminator are shown in (c) and (f).

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Probability of an afterpulse occurring when the blinding pulse is stopped, dependent on the fraction of the time the detector is illuminated by the blinding pulse. Blinding attack repetition rate was kept constant at 10kHz, while blinding pulse duration was varied. Since many fake pulses would be generated during each blinding cycle, fake detection rate would be much higher than 10kHz.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Comparison of timing jitter measured in the experimental setup described in Fig. 1, for device 1. Timing distribution due to single-photon illumination (red circles) and manipulation through bright-light illumination (black squares) is shown, together with Gaussian fits. FWHM time widths are 160 and 141ps, respectively. Jitter is measured at a fixed threshold level set at 50% of the amplitude of a single-photon detection pulse.

Tables (1)

Tables Icon

TABLE I SNSPD devices tested, and their parameters.

Metrics