One-qubit Pad Generalized Quantum Cryptography Workgroup of the EITCI QSG
Generalized Quantum Cryptography is a paridgm in which quantum information messages/registers are encrypted by means of quantum information keys. While quantum information itself is not accessible by a projective quantum measurement (quantum information cannot be extracted to classical information), with the advent of quantum computation it is necessary to consider scenarios, in which quantum information should be protected from anauthorized access by quantum processing devices. Real use cases may involve important and valuable results of quantum computations in the form of quantum information registers which are transmitted in quantum networks or scenarios of secure distributed quantum information processing (when many quantum computing nodes of a network work on some important tasks fragmented into multiple nodes in a secure way in regard to distributed elements of the quantum computation). In either case quantum information should be protected from unauthorized quantum access by general quantum cryptography.
Widely considered quntum encryption domains include classes of protocols in which quantum information is used to secure classical communication. This includes the Quantum Key Distribution, QKD, in which n qubits allows for distribution of n classical random bits to be used with One-Time Pad, as well as the Quantum Super-Dense Coding alternatively referred to as the Quantum Secure Direct Communication, QSDC in which 2 bits are securely (non-locally) encoded on an entanglend Bell state qubits pair by local operations. Another domain are so called Quantum Private Channels in which quantum information is encrypted by classical information keys. Furthermore the Quantum Teleportation scheme could be considered to be a representative primitive of quantum information secure communication by means of quantum information "key" (Alice's and Bob's shared entangled quantum Bell state of two qubits). The classical One-Time Pad scheme (OTP) can be straightforwardly generalized towards quantum case (Quantum One-Time Pad, QOTP), by noticing that OTP's XOR operation is actually a classical CNOT gate. If the message and the key are quantum registers of the same number of qubits, then the subsequent application of CNOT gates at corresponding key qubits (control inputs) and message qubits (target inputs) encrypts the quantum message qubits register in a pairwise entanglement with the quantum key qubits register. The QOTP however (which partially corresponds to the Quantum Teleportation scheme in terms of encrypting or securing in non-local entanglement n qubits of the message by n pairwise entanglements with the key) can be however further generalized. This generalization is referred to as the One-Qubit Pad (OQP) protocol in which the quantum key is only a single qubit, undergoing cyclic control input for a CNOT gate, correspondingly fed at its target input with subsequent qubits from the quantum message register to be encrypted. This results in introduction of a multi-qubit entanglement of the single-qubit key with qubits of the quantum message being encrypted non-locally in a generalized multi-qubit quantum entanglement.
Quantum Standards Group
Upon participation in testing and verification of the implementation results in several Quantum Information and Communication technological R&D projects especially in the scope of entanglement based generalized quantum cryptography, QKD (Quantum Key Distribution) and QRNG (Quantum Random Numbers Generation), the European Information Technologies Certification Institute has initiated the Quantum Standards Group (QSG).
The Quantum Standards Group joins international experts in relevant fields who are interested in quantum technology and industry specifications and standards development. The support of quantum standards specifications in areas such as QKD, QRNG, QC, etc. will facilitate initiation, adoption and development of such standards by international Standards Developing Organizations leading to a faster uptake of quantum technologies.
If you are a professional with background in cybersecurity, classical or quantum cryptography, networking and communication, computing, modeling or in other fields of IT or QIPC that may relate to quantum standards development you are invited to join the group. The group promotes cooperation in relevant workgroups towards implementation of R&D projects, technological development and deployments focused on defining, supporting and disseminating quantum technology standards. The EITCI QSG activity supports the Quantum Flagship initiative and is a part of the StandICT project of the European Commission Horizon 2020 program.
Consult the list of Members of the EITCI QSG group (last updated on 31st August 2021). The up-to-date listing of all the Members can be found at EITCI QSG LinkedIn Group.
In order to join the EITCI Quantum Standards Group please submit the form at Quantum Standards Group page. You can also alternatively request admission with your personal LinkedIn profile at the LinkedIn EITCI QSG Group. Participating in the EITCI QSG by means of membership in the LinkedIn Group may result in missing some of the email communication. If you would like to receive all email communication regarding EITCI QSG activity please submit the form below (you can do it at any time as a QSG Member upon your participation in the LinkedIn EITCI QSG Group). Participation in the QSG does not involve any fees. Upon standards definition and projects implementation you may however engage in technical activities voluntarily or with an adequate remuneration upon availability. Additionally membering the EITCI QSG Group results with EITCI Institute's General Membership with the Membership Fees waived.
H2020 StandICT action for generalized QC standardization
The StandICT H2020 programme supported activities for technical referencing of this protocol involve extending of a dedicated Quantum Standards Group hosted under EITCI Institute to focus in the area of Generalized Quantum Cryptography and the One-Qubit Pad (OQP) protocol in particular, as the most fundamental primitive for quantum information-theoretic secure encryption of quantum messages by employing a multi-qubit entanglement with a single-qubit key. The EITCI OQP-QSG workgroup will proceed drafts of technical standards for general quantum cryptography based on extensions of the OQP protocol, enabling generalized qubit-encryption that will be developed towards reference standards shared with other relevant WGs of international SDOs/SSOs, working towards advancing quantum cryptography beyond the encryption of classical information.
The proposal aims to initiate technical reference standards in general quantum cryptography exceeding the scope of securing classical information with quantum processing as in the Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) and Quantum Secure Directo Communication (QSDC), as well as the scope of securing quantum information with classical keys, as in Quantum Private Channels (QPC) schemes.
The QKD protocol enables information-theoretic secure encryption of classical information, by means of exchanging random classical keys using qubits. This notion can be further extended to addressing direct secure communication of classical information in quantum channels (in a non-local quantum entanglement channel, which also proves information-teoretic security - devised in the superdense coding scheme). A classical key exchanged with QKD due to the no-cloning theorem for quantum information cannot be eavesdropped in an undetected manner and hence can be used to encrypt communicated classical messages with the information-theoretic secure One-Time Pad (OTP) scheme. In QSDC scheme, the classical message is encoded on local operations making non-local changes on the entangled Bell state, pairwise shared between the communication parties (one of the qubits upon which 2 bits of classical information were encoded by a choice of simple local operation changing the Bell basis state of the pair is then sent in a local quantum channel, but stores classical information in a non-local way, making local access to it impossible). While QKD technical standards are developed for several years and have matured to provide device independent security and the QSDC scheme is also technically standardized as extension of the superdense coding protocol, there is currently no advanced discussion or any attempts in technical reference standards conceivement for more general quantum cryptographic systems that could be employed to encrypt communication of qubits rather than of classical information. Direct quantum communication is understood as sending quantum information through quantum channels ensuring meaningful (in terms of quantum information) quantum messages transfer between network nodes. After a quantum supremacy breakthrough, applications for direct quantum communication become increasingly important. Infrastructure for quantum communication is currently under development with a strong support from the European Commission in the EuroQCI programme treated as a test-bed for the future quantum Internet (cf. https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/faq/frequently-asked-questions-quantum-communication-infrastructure). The more general quantum cryptography targeting encryption of qubits rather than just classical bits seems inevitable for advancing quantum communication. In this domain already considered was the scheme of Quantum Private Channels (QPC), in which a classical private key can be used by two parties connected by an insecure one-way quantum channel, to perform private communication of quantum information, with a result showing that in order to transmit n qubits privately, 2n bits of shared private key are necessary and sufficient to this end. Altough this result has been claimed by the authors to be a quantum analogue of the classical One-Time Pad (OTP) encryption scheme, it is only in a limited dimension of admitting keys to be classical information. A fundametanlly generalized approach to quantum encryption is with encrypting quantum communication with quantum keys and the most fundamental primitive of this operation is the One-Qubit Pad that is an analogue of the classical One-Time Pad in providing information-theoretic security of encryption, showing how much both domains of quantum and classical information differ.
The StandICT supported activities involve extending of a dedicated Quantum Standards Group hosted under EITCI Institute (cf. https://eitci.org/technology-certification/qsg) to focus in the area of generalized quantum cryptography and the One-Qubit Pad (OQP) protocol in particular. The OQP-QSG WG will proceed drafts of technical standards for general quantum cryptography with OQP protocol enabling generalized qubit-encryption that will be developed towards reference standards shared with other relevant WGs of international SDOs/SSOs. The standardisation efforts in OQP quantum cryptography exceeding QKD for qubits encryption is expected to contribute to growing quantum standards inventory and support uptake of the technology of crucial importance for the future quantum internet and cybersecurity, especially in view of the recent quantum supremacy breakthroughs. The OQP protocol initial Request for Comments (RFC) document will formalize details of this maximally efficient scheme for encryption of n qubits with a single qubit key in an arbitrary unknown quantum state upon a provision of a multi-qubit entanglement between the single qubit key and n qubits of quantum message by iterative application of a CNOT gate on the same key qubit (CNOT control input) and subsequent qubits of the message (CNOT target input). The resulting entanglement of all n+1 qubits locks the original n-qubits quantum message and the single-qubit key in a jointly entangled state that cannot be disentangled without the single-qubit key. In order to decrypt the quantum message (by disentanglement) one needs to have the qubit key and either reverse the protocol (applying CNOT operations in a reversed order) or simply measure the key qubit and depending on the outcome either obtain the decrypted quantum message or its quantum negation. The subsequent OQP implementation RFC draft will focus on technical processes and devices involved (based on the WIPO/PCT patent https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2019132680).
Objectives of the OQP-QSG Workgroup
The main objective of the OQP-QSG activity is contribution to initiation of an international Working Group (WG) for One-Qubit Pad technical specification and further standardization process. This aim will be achieved in a two-steps procedure:
- Publication and distribution of the Request for Comments drafts of technical standards for the One-Qubit Pad protocol and carrying out corrective iterations in cooperation with experts joining the OQP-QSG Workgroup established on 1st of March 2021.
- Acceptance of the corrected and iterated RFC documents drafts as Reference Standards containing technical specifications for OQP protocol by the OQP-QSG Workgroup members will take place before 31st August 2021 in vote.
OQP-QSG brings together professionals in the security and quantum information processing and communication domains who are interested in quantum cryptography and quantum cybersecurity and can contribute towards further development or review of requirements and specifications of the OQP protocol that upon utilization of a multi-qubit non-local quantum entanglement may encrypt quantum information of n-qubits register with just a single qubit-key. The new conceptual developments of this most generalized quantum cryptography primitive facilitate drafting of OQP technical reference standards and requesting comments and cooperation from Standards Developing Organizations' (SDOs) relevant WGs and international experts in quantum cryptography. The standardization consensus in OQP is expected to contribute to a growing quantum standards inventory and help in uptake of the technology in the future, which is crucial in quantum networks, secure quantum communication and distributed quantum computation.
Relevance of this activity from the European perspective is in support of quantum technologies roadmapping within the EU Quantum Technology Flagship, further supporting a leading role of the EU in the international quantum race by undertaking new initiatives in the international standardization efforts. Many quantum technologies are in early TRL levels, and the most mature ones (reaching even TRL 7) are QKD (Quantum Key Distribution) and QRNG. While QKD standards are underway (e.g. at ETSI QKD-ISG), recently supported by standardization of quantum randomness (e.g. at EITCI EQRNG QSG) there are no technical reference drafs and no work groups actively pursuing generalized quantum cryptography standards dealing with encryption of quantum information with quantum keys. In Europe ETSI established Industry Specification Group working on QKD and on international level quantum standardization efforts take place in cybersecurity and networks WGs, e.g. under Joint Technical Committee 1 of ISO/IEC. CEN and CENELEC recently signed agreements with ISO and IEC through which common European and international standards are developed parallely without duplication, emphasizing the European role.
The main challenge and aim of the OQP-QSG is in supporting further technological development and industrial adoption of generalized quantum cryptography dealing with entanglement-based encryption of quantum information and in particular with the One-Qubit Pad protocol. The quantum cryptography dominated by the QKD protocol (Quantum Key Distribution designed to encrypt classical information with quantum information generated and distributed random keys) are the most mature and industry-ready quantum technologies. While QKD standards are well in development there are no reference drafts and no work groups actively pursuing generalized quantum cryptography standards, tasked with technical solutions for quantum information encryption.
Quantum Standards Group
EITCI Institute's Quantum Standards Group joins together professionals of both classical and quantum domains of information and communication as well as cybersecurity. Many of the experts internationally collaborate on bringing QTs (such as QKD, QRNG) to practical cybersecurity applications.
In 2013 EITCI Institute's QSG representatives took part in efforts of the work group of QKD-ISG (Quantum Key Distribution Industry Specification Group) of ETSI, but EITCI was active in QIP/QKD standardization activities already since 2008, organizing in 2010 two WGs for QKD and QIP work groups as a result of EITCI involvement in quantum communication R&D projects' results testing and verification. The OQP-QSG workgroup now follows with previously well realized fact of the critical importance of true randomness for the security of QKD protocols. Upon recent activity in new developments in QRNG field, including an entanglement based architecture of public-verification of true randomness without unveiling of its secrecy due to quantum non-locality of the entangled qubit states, the EITCI QSG is properly positioned to join together experts who can collaborate on specifying technical framework of the generalized quantum cryptography and in particular of the One-Qubit Pad (OQP) protocol.
The TRLs of Quantum Technologies vary in different fields. QRNG is one of the areas with highest TRL calling for industry specification and efforts towards standards consensus. Such efforts should accompany already well developed field of quantum-safe communication standards, as truly non-deterministic randomness has critical role in both quantum and classical cryptosystems including a whole domain of classical, so called post-quantum cryptography. In that context it should be quoted after the Europe's Agenda 2020 that standardization is an important instrument for innovation adoption, driving compatibility, interoperability, quality and security requirements (COM/2010/2020). The EU R&D framework programme H2020 definition also emphasizes a relationship between R&D projects and standardization activities that boost impact of the results and their market uptake (COM(2018) 26). Current SDOs activity in QRNG standards is very limited and the EITCI EQRNG-QSG activities aim to stimulate these efforts.
OQP-QSG Workgroup's StandICT Workplan
The initiial activity will last 6 months, starting 1st March 2021 and will be divided into 2 phases.
Phase I – standards drafting as RFC documents — COMPLETED (MAY 2021)
During the first 3 months (starting 1st March 2021 and finalized on 31st May 2021) qubits encryption based on the OQP quantum cryptographic primitive technical reference standards drafting took place in a form of 2 draft Request for Comments documents on:
- OQP protocol (definitions, key theoretical concepts and use cases for qubits encryption)
- OQP implementation (technical specification of processes, devices and operative parameters for qubits encryption)
The OQP protocol RFCs formalize correspondingly theoretical and technical details of this maximally efficient scheme for encryption of n qubits with a single qubit key in an arbitrary unknown quantum state upon a provision of a multi-qubit entanglement between the single qubit key and n qubits of quantum message by iterative application of a CNOT gate on the same key qubit (CNOT control input) and subsequent qubits of the message (CNOT target input). The resulting entanglement of all n+1 qubits locks original quantum message and the key in a jointly entangled state that cannot be disentangled without the single qubit key. In order to decrypt the quantum message (by disentanglement) one needs to have the qubit key and either reverse the protocol (applying CNOT operations in reversed order) or simply measure the key qubit and depending on the outcome either obtain the decrypted quantum message or its quantum negation. The subsequent OQP technical RFC draft focuses on technical processes and devices involved (cf. https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2019132680).
Phase II – RFCs reiteration, establishing of a dedicated OQP-QSG WG, acceptance, publication and dissemination of the OQP Reference Standards
After conclusion of the Phase I, with beginning of the 4th month (starting 1st June 2021) of the project implementation the Request for Comments documents will be distributed to relevant WGs of international SDOs/SSOs, including ETSI QKD-ISG, ITU-T SG13 & SG17, IEEE/ISTO, IETF, IEC TC-57, TC-292, TC-65/WG10, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC-27, CEN, CENELEC, ANSI/ASC and NIST with and invitation to OQP-QSG WG hosted under EITCI acting in cooperation with international SDOs/SSOs towards standards development aimed at setting internationally trusted industry quantum specifications. EITCI OQP-QSG WG invitations will be directed to related quantum technology international SDOs/SSOs WGs members as well as to leading QIPC researchers and relevant cybersecurity and quantum engineering experts. Upon invitations to OQP-QSG WG there is planned expanding general OQP membership by at least 20 new experts participating in reiteration of the OQP RFCs towards RS acceptance, publication and dissemination (the remaining 3 months of the project implementation will be spent on reiteration of the RFCs within the WG ending with vote-acceptance of the final Reference Standards specifications, along with publishing and dissemination taking place before 31st August 2021).
The proposed workplan will result in stimulating further development of qubits encryption standards in joint efforts of the international SDOs/SSOs. In particular the proposed activity will be coordinated in already initiated cooperation with European Quantum Flagship and CEN-CENELEC established Quantum Standards Focus Group, supporting EU-stemming international standards in quantum technologies. The purpose of this cooperation will be to ensure interaction between relevant EU stakeholders upon joint efforts in international standardisation in area overlapping between quantum communication and quantum computation to support prospects of global industrial uptake of qubits encryption. The OQP-QSG Reference Standards will be implemented with CEN-CENELEC as CWAs as part of the post-proposal results dissemination activities. Upon the accepted Reference Standards distribution to relevant SDOs/SSOs any members of related technical standards committees or WGs interested in qubits encryption standards development towards final industrial specifications will be invited to join dedicated OQP-QSG to participate in further post-proposal activities.
The activity of the OQP-QSG hence involves the two-step procedure of the Request for Comments on technical specifications reiterations and acceptance of the Reference Standards. The initial OQP technical specifications drafting concluded on 31st May 2021 is a basis for the RFC (Request for Comments) publication and corrective iterations. The final phase begins with June 2021 when these reiterated RFC drafts upon possible extensions and corrections become candidates for QSG OQP Reference Standards upon the QSG Members vote lasting until 31st August 2021. The vote will conclude in either acceptance or forwarding for further correction of the Reference Standards considered to be accepted by the OQP-QSG Members.
The acceptance vote for OQP-QSG Reference Standards will be based on the iterated RFC initial technical specifications drafts with ongoing corrections, that will include:
- OQP protocol (definitions, key theoretical concepts and use cases for qubits encryption)
- OQP implementation (technical specification of processes, devices and operative parameters for qubits encryption)
Accordingly to the OQP-QSG voting procedure only OQP-QSG Members are entitled to participate in vote. If a Member would like to vote against acceptance of the RFC drafts as RS, such objection should be emailed along with indication of vote cast against at firstname.lastname@example.org. Upon the EITCI QSG proceeding rules, a lack of response is interpreted as a vote in favour of acceptance. All further corrections are still accepted during vote being sent also at email@example.com and are added to the improvements list for further reiterations of the Reference Standards, if admitted by the vote. If a Member would like to vote against accepting of the current drafts as RS, it musy be clearly indicated in the message, because proposing just the corrections is not counted as a vote against (rather the corrections are added to further improvements of the accepted RS).
During the 3 months before the vote the RFC drafts are to be circulated with the OQP-QSG Members and distributed to the relevant Working Groups of SDOs, including ETSI QKD-ISG, ITU-T SG13 & SG17, IEEE/ISTO, IETF, IEC TC 57, TC 292, TC 65/WG10, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27, CEN, CENELEC, ANSI/ASC and NIST, with an invitation to submit the comments on the drafts and join the OQP-QSG activities, including further reiteration of the RFCs upon community collaboration ending with Reference Standards acceptance and publishing by the Quantum Standards Group under EITCI Institute as the hosting SDO. The accepted Reference Standards are then subject to continous development and improvements.
The EITCI OQP-QSG activities are aimed at stimulation of international SDOs' own WGs with further iterations towards increasing collaboration and reaching of the consensus for adopted international standards in the generalized quantum cryptography domain. The OQP standardization drafting process will be open and RFC drafts and final standards specification documents will be of open access (while some of the technically documented concepts may remain under IP protection, different competing solutions will be a part of consensus reaching process in the research and industry community towards QRNG technology standardization).
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