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Filters: Author is Adam Bates, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  [Clear All Filters]
2017-07-19
Benjamin E. Ujcich, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Andrew Miller, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Adam Bates, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, William H. Sanders, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  2017.  Towards an Accountable Software-Defined Networking Architecture. 3rd IEEE Conference on Network Softwarization (NetSoft 2017).

Software-defined networking (SDN) overcomes many limitations of traditional networking architectures because of its programmable and flexible nature. Security applications,for instance, can dynamically reprogram a network to respond to ongoing threats in real time. However, the same flexibility also creates risk, since it can be used against the network. Current SDN architectures potentially allow adversaries to disrupt one or more SDN system components and to hide their actions in doing so. That makes assurance and reasoning about past network
events more difficult, if not impossible. In this paper, we argue that an SDN architecture must incorporate various notions of accountability for achieving systemwide cyber resiliency goals.
We analyze accountability based on a conceptual framework, and we identify how that analysis fits in with the SDN architecture’s entities and processes. We further consider a case study in which accountability is necessary for SDN network applications, and we discuss the limits of current approaches.

2018-10-15
Benjamin E. Ujcich, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Samuel Jero, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Anne Edmundson, Princeton University, Qi Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Richard Skowyra, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, James Landry, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Adam Bates, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, William H. Sanders, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Cristina Nita-Rotaru, Northeastern University, Hamed Okhravi, MIT Lincoln Laboratroy.  2018.  Cross-App Poisoning in Software-Defined Networking. 2018 ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security.

Software-defined networking (SDN) continues to grow in popularity because of its programmable and extensible control plane realized through network applications (apps). However, apps introduce significant security challenges that can systemically disrupt network operations, since apps must access or modify data in a shared control plane state. If our understanding of how such data propagate within the control plane is inadequate, apps can co-opt other apps, causing them to poison the control plane’s integrity. 

We present a class of SDN control plane integrity attacks that we call cross-app poisoning (CAP), in which an unprivileged app manipulates the shared control plane state to trick a privileged app into taking actions on its behalf. We demonstrate how role-based access control (RBAC) schemes are insufficient for preventing such attacks because they neither track information flow nor enforce information flow control (IFC). We also present a defense, ProvSDN, that uses data provenance to track information flow and serves as an online reference monitor to prevent CAP attacks. We implement ProvSDN on the ONOS SDN controller and demonstrate that information flow can be tracked with low-latency overheads.