Project Publications
LOCARD related articles have been published in high-rated journals and presented in top conferences. The following list depicts all articles published and presented from the beginning of the project.

An In-depth Look Into SDN Topology Discovery Mechanisms: Novel Attacks and Practical Countermeasures


Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a novel network approach that has revolutionised existent network architectures by decoupling the control plane from the data plane. Researchers have shown that SDN networks are highly vulnerable to security attacks. For instance, adversaries can tamper with the controller's network topology view to hijack the hosts' location or create fake inter-switch links. These attacks can be launched for various purposes, ranging from impersonating hosts to bypassing middleboxes or intercepting network traffic. Several countermeasures have been proposed to mitigate topology attacks but to date there has been no comprehensive analysis of the level of security they offer. A critical analysis is thus an important step towards better understanding the possible limitations of the existing solutions and building stronger defences against topology attacks.

In this paper, we evaluate the actual security of the existing mechanisms for network topology discovery in SDN. Our analysis reveals 6 vulnerabilities in the state-of-the-art countermeasures against topology attacks: TopoGuard,</> <>TopoGuard+,</>SPV</> and SecureBinder.</> We show that these vulnerabilities can be exploited in practice to manipulate the network topology view at the controller. Furthermore, we present 2 novel topology attacks, called Topology Freezing</> and Reverse Loop,</> that exploit vulnerabilities in the widely used Floodlight controller. We responsibly disclosed these vulnerabilities to Floodlight. While we show that it is difficult to fully eradicate these attacks, we propose fixes to mitigate them. In response to our findings, we conclude the paper by detailing practical ways of further improving the existing countermeasures.

Authors: Eduard Marin; Nicola Bucciol; Mauro Conti.

Date of Publication: November 2019.

Publisher: ACM Digital Library.

Conference: ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security.

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EU flag Copyright © 2020 LOCARD. All rights reserved. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement nº 832735. This project reflects only the author’s view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.