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A single-qubit position verification protocol that is secure against multi-qubit attacks


The position of a device or agent is an important security credential in today’s society, both online and in the real world. Unless in direct proximity, however, the secure verification of a position is impossible without further assumptions. This is true classically1, but also in any future quantum-equipped communications infrastructure2. We show in this work that minimal quantum resources, in the form of a single qubit, combined with classical communication are sufficient to thwart quantum adversaries that pretend to be at a specific position and have the ability to coordinate their action with entanglement. More precisely, we show that adversaries using an increasing amount of entanglement can be combatted solely by increasing the number of classical bits used in the protocol. The presented protocols are noise-robust and within reach of current quantum technology.

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Fig. 1: Set-up for PV in one spatial dimension (top) and the classical attack (bottom).
Fig. 2: The routing protocol.
Fig. 3: The measuring protocol.
Fig. 4: Attack strategies for the routing and measuring protocols.

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Data sharing is not applicable to this Article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.


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We thank A. Kent for organizing a workshop on relativistic quantum information theory in February 2020, during which part of this work was presented. A.B. and M.C. acknowledge financial support from the European Research Council (grant agreement no. 81876), VILLUM FONDEN via the QMATH Centre of Excellence (grant no.10059) and the QuantERA ERA-NET Cofund in Quantum Technologies implemented within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme (QuantAlgo project) via the Innovation Fund Denmark.

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Correspondence to Andreas Bluhm, Matthias Christandl or Florian Speelman.

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Nature Physics thanks Carl Miller, Yusuf Alnawakhtha and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Bluhm, A., Christandl, M. & Speelman, F. A single-qubit position verification protocol that is secure against multi-qubit attacks. Nat. Phys. 18, 623–626 (2022).

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