Bounding passive light-source side channels in quantum key distribution via Hong-Ou-Mandel interference
Passive side-channel attacks in quantum key distribution (QKD) aim at obtaining information about the quantum signals without disturbing them and hence compromise real-world QKD security. Currently, there are no reliable tools for the assessment of QKD signal generation imperfections. In this work we propose a generic experimental method which allows to upper-bound QKD light-source imperfections and directly integrate them into the modern security proofs. The method relies on Hong-Ou-Mandel interference between different emitted signals: the maximum interference visibility reveals overall signal distinguishability that could lead to passive side-channel information leakage. We apply it for the standard decoy-state BB84 protocol and calculate a lower bound on the secret key rate for realistic values of interference visibility. The method can be readily implemented in practical QKD setups and is especially relevant for multiple-laser QKD systems such as the one installed on the Micius satellite.