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Publication# Public-Key Encryption with Quantum Keys

Abstract

In the framework of Impagliazzo's five worlds, a distinction is often made between two worlds, one where public-key encryption exists (Cryptomania), and one in which only one-way functions exist (MiniCrypt). However, the boundaries between these worlds can change when quantum information is taken into account. Recent work has shown that quantum variants of oblivious transfer and multi-party computation, both primitives that are classically in Cryptomania, can be constructed from one-way functions, placing them in the realm of quantumMiniCrypt (the so-called MiniQCrypt). This naturally raises the following question: Is it possible to construct a quantum variant of public-key encryption, which is at the heart of Cryptomania, from one-way functions or potentially weaker assumptions?|In this work, we initiate the formal study of the notion of quantum public-key encryption (qPKE), i.e., public-key encryption where keys are allowed to be quantum states. We propose new definitions of security and several constructions of qPKE based on the existence of one-way functions (OWF), or even weaker assumptions, such as pseudorandom function-like states (PRFS) and pseudorandom function-like states with proof of destruction (PRFSPD). Finally, to give a tight characterization of this primitive, we show that computational assumptions are necessary to build quantum public-key encryption. That is, we give a self-contained proof that no quantum public-key encryption scheme can provide information-theoretic security.

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Post-quantum cryptography

In cryptography, post-quantum cryptography (PQC) (sometimes referred to as quantum-proof, quantum-safe or quantum-resistant) refers to cryptographic algorithms (usually public-key algorithms) that are thought to be secure against a cryptanalytic attack by a quantum computer. The problem with currently popular algorithms is that their security relies on one of three hard mathematical problems: the integer factorization problem, the discrete logarithm problem or the elliptic-curve discrete logarithm problem.

Encryption

In cryptography, encryption is the process of encoding information. This process converts the original representation of the information, known as plaintext, into an alternative form known as ciphertext. Ideally, only authorized parties can decipher a ciphertext back to plaintext and access the original information. Encryption does not itself prevent interference but denies the intelligible content to a would-be interceptor. For technical reasons, an encryption scheme usually uses a pseudo-random encryption key generated by an algorithm.

Public-key cryptography

Public-key cryptography, or asymmetric cryptography, is the field of cryptographic systems that use pairs of related keys. Each key pair consists of a public key and a corresponding private key. Key pairs are generated with cryptographic algorithms based on mathematical problems termed one-way functions. Security of public-key cryptography depends on keeping the private key secret; the public key can be openly distributed without compromising security.

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