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Conference Paper
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.

Vizarreta, Petra, Sakic, Ermin, Kellerer, Wolfgang, Machuca, Carmen Mas.  2019.  Mining Software Repositories for Predictive Modelling of Defects in SDN Controller. 2019 IFIP/IEEE Symposium on Integrated Network and Service Management (IM). :80-88.

In Software Defined Networking (SDN) control plane of forwarding devices is concentrated in the SDN controller, which assumes the role of a network operating system. Big share of today's commercial SDN controllers are based on OpenDaylight, an open source SDN controller platform, whose bug repository is publicly available. In this article we provide a first insight into 8k+ bugs reported in the period over five years between March 2013 and September 2018. We first present the functional components in OpenDaylight architecture, localize the most vulnerable modules and measure their contribution to the total bug content. We provide high fidelity models that can accurately reproduce the stochastic behaviour of bug manifestation and bug removal rates, and discuss how these can be used to optimize the planning of the test effort, and to improve the software release management. Finally, we study the correlation between the code internals, derived from the Git version control system, and software defect metrics, derived from Jira issue tracker. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to provide a comprehensive analysis of bug characteristics in a production grade SDN controller.

Bhandari, P., Gujral, M.S..  2014.  Ontology based approach for perception of network security state. Engineering and Computational Sciences (RAECS), 2014 Recent Advances in. :1-6.

This paper presents an ontological approach to perceive the current security status of the network. Computer network is a dynamic entity whose state changes with the introduction of new services, installation of new network operating system, and addition of new hardware components, creation of new user roles and by attacks from various actors instigated by aggressors. Various security mechanisms employed in the network does not give the complete picture of security of complete network. In this paper we have proposed taxonomy and ontology which may be used to infer impact of various events happening in the network on security status of the network. Vulnerability, Network and Attack are the main taxonomy classes in the ontology. Vulnerability class describes various types of vulnerabilities in the network which may in hardware components like storage devices, computing devices or networks devices. Attack class has many subclasses like Actor class which is entity executing the attack, Goal class describes goal of the attack, Attack mechanism class defines attack methodology, Scope class describes size and utility of the target, Automation level describes the automation level of the attack Evaluation of security status of the network is required for network security situational awareness. Network class has network operating system, users, roles, hardware components and services as its subclasses. Based on this taxonomy ontology has been developed to perceive network security status. Finally a framework, which uses this ontology as knowledgebase has been proposed.
 

Cox, J. H., Clark, R. J., Owen, H. L..  2016.  Security policy transition framework for Software Defined networks. 2016 IEEE Conference on Network Function Virtualization and Software Defined Networks (NFV-SDN). :56–61.

Controllers for software defined networks (SDNs) are quickly maturing to offer network operators more intuitive programming frameworks and greater abstractions for network application development. Likewise, many security solutions now exist within SDN environments for detecting and blocking clients who violate network policies. However, many of these solutions stop at triggering the security measure and give little thought to amending it. As a consequence, once the violation is addressed, no clear path exists for reinstating the flagged client beyond having the network operator reset the controller or manually implement a state change via an external command. This presents a burden for the network and its clients and administrators. Hence, we present a security policy transition framework for revoking security measures in an SDN environment once said measures are activated.