Document Type


Publication Date


First Advisor

Joshua Holden


The purpose of this research is to understand what factors would cause users to choose quantum key distribution (QKD) over other methods of cryptography. An Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) key can be exchanged through communication using the Rivest, Shamir, Adleman (RSA) cryptographic algorithm, QKD, or post-quantum cryptography (PQC). QKD relies on quantum physics where RSA and PQC use complex mathematics to encrypt data. The BB84 quantum cryptographic protocol involves communication over a quantum channel and a public channel. The quantum channel can be technically attacked by beamsplitting or intercept/resend. QKD, like other forms of cryptography, is vulnerable to social attacks such as industrial espionage. QKD products can transmit over maximum distances ranging from 40 km up to 150 km with key rates as low as 1.4 kb/s up to at least 300 kb/s. A survey and focus group discussion with a defense contracting company revealed that while nobody fully trusts current security systems, they are more concerned about social engineering attacks before attacks on cryptography. The company is not interested in implementing QKD unless the range capabilities are improved or there is regulation requiring them to use it.