Cryptography with quantum states exhibits a number of surprising and counter-intuitive features. In a 2002 work, Barnum et al. argued that these features imply that digital signatures for quantum states are impossible [7]. In this work, we ask: can all forms of signing quantum data, even in a possibly weak sense, be completely ruled out? We give two results which shed significant light on this basic question. First, we prove an impossibility result for digital signatures for quantum data, which extends the result of [7]. Specifically, we show that no nontrivial combination of correctness and security requirements can be fulfilled, beyond what is achievable simply by measuring the quantum message and then signing the outcome. In other words, only classical signature schemes exist. We then show a positive result: a quantum state can be signed with the same security guarantees as classically, provided that it is also encrypted with the public key of the intended recipient. Following classical nomenclature, we call this notion quantum signcryption. Classically, signcryption is only interesting if it provides superior performance to encrypt-then-sign. Quantumly, it is far more interesting: it is the only signing method available. We develop “as-strong-as-classical” security definitions for quantum signcryption and give secure constructions based on post-quantum public-key primitives. Along the way, we show that a natural hybrid method of combining classical and quantum schemes can be used to “upgrade” a secure classical scheme to the fully-quantum setting, in a wide range of cryptographic settings including signcryption, authenticated encryption, and CCA security.

Kudelski Security, Zurich, Switzerland
Taming Quantum Adversaries
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, Amsterdam (CWI), The Netherlands

Alagic, G., Gagliardoni, T., & Majenz, C. (2021). Can you sign a quantum state?. Quantum, 5, 603:1–603:38. doi:10.22331/Q-2021-12-16-603