Diversity Modeling to Evaluate Security of Multiple SDN Controllers

Maziku, H., Shetty, S., Jin, D., Kamhoua, C., Nijilla, L., and Kwiat, K.,


2018 International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communications (ICNC): Communications and Information Security Symposium, Maui, Hawaii, March 5-8, 2018.


Software Defined Networking (SDN) facilitates network orchestration and ability to reconfigure the network plane at run time. Despite ubiquitous adoption of SDN, there is also growing concern about security risks posed by SDN. The security risks stem from centralized controller, trust issues between network elements due to Open APIs and an insecure OpenFlow channel. However, SDN controllers are a common target since compromising SDN controllers has the capability of impairing the entire network. SDN controller protection efforts have centered around replicating controllers for redundancy and hardening host Operating Systems. There is lack of research efforts on the security impact of adopting multiple SDN controllers. In this paper, we present a network diversity modeling framework to assess impact on security risk due to multiple SDN controllers. Using attack graphs and diversity models, we explore the security impact of resource relationships to SDN multiple controller networks. Our results reveal that having similar resource instances in different multiple SDN controllers increases the security risk.

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