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Composable and Finite Computational Security of Quantum Message Transmission

Fabio Banfi and Ueli Maurer and Christopher Portmann and Jiamin Zhu

Recent research in quantum cryptography has led to the development of schemes that encrypt and authenticate quantum messages with computational security. The security definitions used so far in the literature are asymptotic, game-based, and not known to be composable. We show how to define finite, composable, computational security for secure quantum message transmission. The new definitions do not involve any games or oracles, they are directly operational: a scheme is secure if it transforms an insecure channel and a shared key into an ideal secure channel from Alice to Bob, i.e., one which only allows Eve to block messages and learn their size, but not change them or read them. By modifying the ideal channel to provide Eve with more or less capabilities, one gets an array of different security notions. By design these transformations are composable, resulting in composable security.

Crucially, the new definitions are finite. Security does not rely on the asymptotic hardness of a computational problem. Instead, one proves a finite reduction: if an adversary can distinguish the constructed (real) channel from the ideal one (for some fixed security parameters), then she can solve a finite instance of some computational problem. Such a finite statement is needed to make security claims about concrete implementations.

We then prove that (slightly modified versions of) protocols proposed in the literature satisfy these composable definitions. And finally, we study the relations between some game-based definitions and our composable ones. In particular, we look at notions of quantum authenticated encryption and QCCA2, and show that they suffer from the same issues as their classical counterparts: they exclude certain protocols which are arguably secure.