Kirchhoff Meets Johnson: In Pursuit of Unconditionally Secure Communication

Ertugrul Basar
Computer Science, Information Theory, Information Theory (cs.IT), Cryptography and Security (cs.CR), Signal Processing (eess.SP)
2023-12-04 00:00:00
Noise: an enemy to be dealt with and a major factor limiting communication system performance. However, what if there is gold in that garbage? In conventional engineering, our focus is primarily on eliminating, suppressing, combating, or even ignoring noise and its detrimental impacts. Conversely, could we exploit it similarly to biology, which utilizes noise-alike carrier signals to convey information? In this context, the utilization of noise, or noise-alike signals in general, has been put forward as a means to realize unconditionally secure communication systems in the future. In this tutorial article, we begin by tracing the origins of thermal noise-based communication and highlighting one of its significant applications for ensuring unconditionally secure networks: the Kirchhoff-law-Johnson-noise (KLJN) secure key exchange scheme. We then delve into the inherent challenges tied to secure communication and discuss the imperative need for physics-based key distribution schemes in pursuit of unconditional security. Concurrently, we provide a concise overview of quantum key distribution (QKD) schemes and draw comparisons with their KLJN-based counterparts. Finally, extending beyond wired communication loops, we explore the transmission of noise signals over-the-air and evaluate their potential for stealth and secure wireless communication systems.
PDF: Kirchhoff Meets Johnson: In Pursuit of Unconditionally Secure Communication.pdf
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