Past Event

EE/CS Networking & DSI SCMD Seminar: Fundamental Limits of Quantum-Secure Covert Communication

March 1, 2022
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
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Mudd 1300 or Zoom

Abstract: Hiding transmitted signals is of paramount importance in many communicationsettings. While traditional security (e.g., encryption) prevents unauthorized access tomessage content, detection of the mere presence of a message by the adversary can havea significant negative impact. This necessitates the use of covert communication, which notonly protects the information contained in a transmission from unauthorized decoding, butalso prevents the detection of a transmission in the first place. Although practical radio-frequency covert communication systems have been around since the advent of spread-spectrum, exploration of their fundamental limits is a new direction in information theory.Surprisingly, analysis of covert communication systems reveals that, while the Shannoncapacity of a covert communication channel is zero, it still allows transmission of a largevolume of covert data. This is true even when covert communications are secure fromdetection by a quantum-enabled adversary.

In this talk, I will present these fundamentalresults, focusing on their intuitive explanation, rather than their mathematical derivations. Iwill also describe a table-top proof-of-concept validation that paved the way for the ongoingexperimental studies in quantum-secure covert communication.

Bio: Boulat A. Bash received the B.A. degree in economics from Dartmouth College in 2001and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Massachusetts,Amherst, MA, in 2008 and 2015, respectively. He is currently an Assistant Professor withthe Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Arizona, Tucson,AZ. He was previously a Scientist with the Quantum Information Processing Group atRaytheon BBN Technologies, Cambridge, MA. His research interests include security,privacy, communications, signal processing, and information theory. He won an honorablemention at the 2015 NSA Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper Competition, the RaytheonSpace and Airborne Systems Excellence in Engineering and Technology Award, and theNSF CAREER award.

Host: Gil Zussman