Cross-app poisoning in software-defined networking

Benjamin E. Ujcich, Samuel Jero, Anne Edmundson, Qi Wang, Richard Skowyra, James Landry, Adam Bates, William H. Sanders, Cristina Nita-Rotaru, Hamed Okhravi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCCS 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages648-663
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781450356930
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2018
Event25th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS 2018 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Oct 15 2018 → …

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
ISSN (Print)1543-7221

Other

Other25th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS 2018
CountryCanada
CityToronto
Period10/15/18 → …

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Keywords

  • Data provenance
  • Information flow control
  • Network operating system
  • Software-defined networking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications

Cite this

Ujcich, B. E., Jero, S., Edmundson, A., Wang, Q., Skowyra, R., Landry, J., Bates, A., Sanders, W. H., Nita-Rotaru, C., & Okhravi, H. (2018). Cross-app poisoning in software-defined networking. In CCS 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security (pp. 648-663). (Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3243734.3243759