Industry Specification Group (ISG) on Quantum Key Distribution for Users (QKD) Activity Report 2019

Chair: Andrew Shields, Toshiba Research Europe Ltd.

Established to develop specifications describing quantum cryptography for Information and Communications Technologies networks.

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) enables digital keys to be shared privately without relying on computational complexity. The security offered by QKD will not be vulnerable to future advances in algorithms, computational power or the emergence of a quantum computer.

With QKD, security keys are shared over optical fibre or free space links encoded on single photons or weak pulses of light. Demonstrator networks are now being constructed in several locations around the world and standards are needed urgently to enable adoption of these new security technologies.

ETSI’s Industry Specification Group (ISG) on QKD is leading activities to help fulfil this need, by developing standards for the quantum communications industry that will promote and shape the market.

In 2019 we published two Group Specifications.

The first [GS QKD 014] defines a REST-based key delivery API for a QKD network to supply cryptographic keys to an application.

The second [GS QKD 012] specifies device and communication channel parameters for QKD deployments. The information regarding the QKD system parameters and the network parameters to be exchanged are listed and prioritized in the case where one entity, operating QKD Modules, plans a QKD deployment over an optical network infrastructure, operated by another entity.

Look out for in 2020 – ISG QKD work in progress

  • Group Specification (GS) on Protection Profile for QKD systems, describing complete systems involving point-to-point devices from physical implementation to output of final secret key
  • Revision to GS on security proofs, focusing on security definition, device models, implementation security and quantum key distribution protocols
  • GS on implementation security: protection against Trojan horse attacks in one-way QKD systems
  • GS on characterisation of optical output of QKD transmitter modules
  • GS on control interface for SDN
  • Revision to GS on QKD Application Interface (API) in response to new network developments
  • GR on review of network architectures
  • Revision to Group Report (GR) on QKD vocabulary and definitions