“A Software Defined Networking Architecture for Secure Routing”
Master’s thesis, Mestrado em Segurança Informática, Departamento de Informática, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Nov. 2014
Abstract: The Internet has evolved from a small group of interconnected computers to an infrastructure that supports billions of devices including computers, smartphones, etc, all with increasing demands in terms of network requirements. The architecture of traditional networks hinders their capability of fulfilling these demands, mainly due to the tight coupling of the data and control planes. Network devices are required to handle and participate in complex distributed protocols to perform network tasks such as routing, making networks very complex and thus affecting their scalability, performance, management and innovation ease. The Border Gateway Protocol, the de facto protocol for routing between Autonomous Systems (ASes) is one of the fundamental protocols for the operation of the internet. However, it was created in a time where the internet was composed of fewer ASes that trusted each other and in the information they provided, which is now unsafe to assume. The internet growth also resulted in an increase in the attacks against the internet routing infrastructure, and several misbehaviors have been detected, either due to attacks against the protocol or misconfiguration. Although several solutions have been presented to solve the security issues of BGP, no proposal has yet been adopted due to three main reasons: The solution requires either a computational power or memory size that not all currently deployed BGP speakers will be able to withstand; � The solution incurs changes to the BGP protocol currently in use; � The solution does not bring immediate security benefits for the adopting AS; Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is an emerging network paradigm that aims to solve the problems of traditional networks by decoupling the data and control planes, moving the latter to a logically centralized controller while making network devices execute solely the former. All network tasks and applications run on top of the controller, which abstracts the network and greatly simplifies the development and testing of new applications and protocols. Forwarding rules are installed and removed using OpenFlow, a vendor-independent communications protocol for SDNs. Several SDN controllers have been developed by different companies and researchers, several of them open-source. One of such kind is the OpenDaylight (ODL) controller,supported by some of the top names in the IT industry (e.g. Cisco, IBM, HP). The goal of ODL is to create a controller of reference and help accelerate SDN evolution and adoption. Although the controller is the core component of a SDN, network logic is performed by an application running on top of it. An example is RouteFlow, a routing platform that provides flexible and scalabe IP routing services to a SDN. Routing decisions are made by creating a virtual network that mimics the topology of the physical infrastructure and by analyzing the routing tables of the virtual devices. RouteFlow is composed by three components: RFClient, RFServer and RFProxy, with the latter running in the controller. The first contribution of this work is the implementation and evaluation of the RFProxy module for the OpenDaylight controller. An SDN architecture provides a new environment to improve BGP security through the creation of an application to run on top of the controller. Such approach mitigates the first two adoption problems mentioned above by offloading the additional processing to the controller and by not requiring changes to the BGP protocol. The other contribution of this work is the study and analysis of the BGP security problems and traditional solutions, and how to address them in a SDN environment. We implemented and evaluated BGPSec, a security application for the OpenDaylight controller that provides the network with protection against prefix hijacking attacks, where a malicious AS tries to direct the traffic destined to an AS onto itself.
Research line(s): Fault and Intrusion Tolerance in Open Distributed Systems (FIT)