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Security issues in network virtualization for the future Internet

Sriram Natarajan, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation proposes multiple network defense mechanisms. In a typical virtualized network, the network infrastructure and the virtual network are managed by different administrative entities that may not trust each other, raising the concern that any honest-but-curious network infrastructure provider may snoop on traffic sent by the hosted virtual networks. In such a scenario, the virtual network might hesitate to disclose operational information (e.g., source and destination addresses of network traffic, routing information, etc.) to the infrastructure provider. However, the network infrastructure does need sufficient information to perform packet forwarding. We present Encrypted IP (EncrIP), a protocol for encrypting IP addresses that hides information about the virtual network while still allowing packet forwarding with longest-prefix matching techniques that are implemented in commodity routers. Using probabilistic encryption, EncrIP can avoid that an observer can identify what traffic belongs to the same source-destination pairs. Our evaluation results show that EncrIP requires only a few MB of memory on the gateways where traffic enters and leaves the network infrastructure. In our prototype implementation of EncrIP on GENI, which uses standard IP header, the success probability of a statistical inference attack to identify packets belonging to the same session is less than 0.001%. Therefore, we believe EncrIP presents a practical solution for protecting privacy in virtualized networks. ^ While virtualizing the infrastructure components introduces flexibility by reprogramming the protocol stack, it doesn't directly solve the security issues that are encountered in the current Internet. On the contrary, the architecture increases the chances of additive vulnerabilities, thereby increasing the attack space to exploit and launch several attacks. Therefore it is important to consider a virtual network instance that ensures only authorized traffic is transmitted and attack traffic is squelched as close to their source as possible. Network virtualization provides an opportunity to host a network that can guarantee such high-levels of security features thereby protecting both the end systems and the network infrastructure components (i.e., routers, switches, etc.). In this work, we introduce a virtual network instance using capabilities-based network which present a fundamental shift in the security design of network architectures. Instead of permitting the transmission of packets from any source to any destination, routers deny forwarding by default. For a successful transmission, packets need to positively identify themselves and their permissions to each router in the forwarding path. The proposed capabilities-based system uses packet credentials based on Bloom filters. This high-performance design of capabilities makes it feasible that traffic is verified on every router in the network and most attack traffic can be contained within a single hop. Our experimental evaluation confirm that less than one percent of attack traffic passes the first hop and the performance overhead can be as low as 6% for large file transfers. ^ Next, to identify packet forwarding misbehaviors in network virtualization, a controller-based misbehavior detection system is discussed as part of the future work. Overall, this dissertation introduces novel security mechanisms that can be instantiated as inherent security features in the network architecture for the future Internet. The technical challenges in this dissertation involves solving problems from computer networking, network security, principles of protocol design, probability and random processes, and algorithms. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)^

Subject Area

Computer engineering|Electrical engineering|Computer science

Recommended Citation

Natarajan, Sriram, "Security issues in network virtualization for the future Internet" (2012). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3545968.