A new attack against the Kirchhoff-Law-Johnson-Noise (KLJN) secure key distribution system is studied with unknown parasitic DC-voltage sources at both Alice’s and Bob’s ends. This paper is the generalization of our earlier investigation with a single-end parasitic source. Under the assumption that Eve does not know the values of the parasitic sources, a new attack, utilizing the current generated by the parasitic dc-voltage sources, is introduced. The attack is mathematically analyzed and demonstrated by computer simulations. Simple defense methods against the attack are shown. The earlier defense method based solely on the comparison of current/voltage data at Alice’s and Bob’s terminals is useless here since the wire currents and voltages are equal at both ends. However, the more expensive version of the earlier defense method, which is based on in-situ system simulation and comparison with measurements, works efficiently.
The Kirchhoff-law-Johnson-noise (KLJN) secure key exchange scheme offers unconditional security, however it can approach the perfect security limit only in the case when the practical system’s parameters approach the ideal behavior of its core circuitry. In the case of non-ideal features, non-zero information leak is present. The study of such leaks is important for a proper design of practical KLJN systems and their privacy amplifications in order to eliminate these problems.