We introduce the so far most efficient attack against the Kirchhoff-law–Johnson-noise (KLJN) secure key exchange system. This attack utilizes the lack of exact thermal equilibrium in practical applications and is based on cable resistance losses and the fact that the Second Law of Thermodynamics cannot provide full security when such losses are present. The new attack does not challenge the unconditional security of the KLJN scheme, but it puts more stringent demands on the security/privacy enhancing protocol than for any earlier attack. In this paper we present a simple defense protocol to fully eliminate this new attack by increasing the noise-temperature at the side of the smaller resistance value over the noise-temperature at the at the side with the greater resistance. It is shown that this simple protocol totally removes Eve’s information not only for the new attack but also for the old Bergou-Scheuer-Yariv attack. The presently most efficient attacks against the KLJN scheme are thereby completely nullified.
Comments: 9 Pages. Accepted for publication in Entropy (open access)
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