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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : Informatics

Undergraduate Course: Quantum Cyber Security (INFR11187)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryIn this course we cover a broad range of effects that the development of quantum technologies bring on the security and privacy of communication and computation. In particular we consider (i) post-quantum security: security of classical protocols when the adversaries have access to quantum computers or other quantum technologies and (ii) quantumly-enhanced security: when quantum technologies are used by honest parties to achieve better (in terms of security or efficiency) performance. We give an overview of the field, while in each case we focus on selected examples to illustrate how to handle security in a world with quantum technologies.
Course description This course deals with the various effects that developing quantum technologies will have on cyber security. Quantum computing and quantum information theory offers new possibilities (in terms of efficiency and security). Here we examine both the extra attacks that adversaries equipped with quantum technologies can perform and the extra possibilities opened when honest parties use quantum technologies.

The students first will be introduced to quantum information concepts (qubits, mixed states, operations, distance measures) as well as quantum algorithms (factoring, discrete logarithms, search) and their limitations. This will lead to LO1, namely learn the mathematical machinery and the power (and limitations) of quantum information and computation, in view of using these for cyber security.

The second part consists of learning and understanding quantum cryptography and specifically "quantum-key-distribution" protocols, including their security proofs and the how different implementations affect the performance (see LO4). The limitations (practical and theoretical) of quantum cryptography will also be analysed here (including impossibility results).

The third part deals with generalising classical notions such as encryption, authentication and secure delegated computation to quantum information. Introducing students in these concepts prepares them for the next generation of quantum cyber security that is bound to become relevant when large(r) quantum computers are constructed (LO5).

Finally, the last part of the course focuses on classical protocols and their security under quantum attacks. A cryptosystem based on the learning-with-errors problems will be introduced as a (key) example of this possibility (LO2). Furthermore, general quantum attacks (superposition attacks, the quantum random oracle model, etc) will be introduced and students will learn to analyse general quantum attacks on a given classical protocol (LO3).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Either having done a Computer Security course (as INFR10067) or taking the Research Methods in Security, Privacy & Trust (compulsory MSc Security and Privacy course) or having done a Quantum Computing course (INFR11067 or equivalent).
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 70 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 75 %, Coursework 25 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 75%

A written exam that covers all four parts of the course and that tests all the LOs. The exam contains a small theory part, testing the knowledge of key topics of the course and the remaining exam requires understanding and being able to apply the knowledge on concrete examples.

Other (coursework): 25%

A single coursework, that checks the understanding of students in LO 1-5, and goes beyond the material presented in the lectures by asking questions that require deeper thought or research.
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate their understanding of the power and limitations of quantum computation by evaluating the performance of quantum algorithms and be able to use the basic mathematical formalism for quantum information and quantum cryptography
  2. Test whether a classical cryptosystem is secure against a range of quantum attacks
  3. Analyse quantum attacks to classical protocols
  4. Demonstrate their understanding of the security of quantum cryptography by analysing the security proofs including the effects of different physical implementations
  5. Use security notions for quantum information, such as encryption and authentication, in quantum cryptographic protocols and their application to blind quantum computation
Reading List
The lecture notes as main source and as supplementary reading:

Quantum Computation and Quantum Information by Nielsen and Chuang

Quantum Information by Stephen Barnett

Post-Quantum Cryptography Editors Daniel J. Bernstein, Johannes Buchmann and Erik Dahmen
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordscyber security,quantum cryptography,quantum computation
Course organiserDr Petros Wallden
Tel: (0131 6)51 5631
Course secretaryMiss Lori Anderson
Tel: (0131 6)51 4164
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