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Author ORCID Identifier
Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Dennis L. Goeckel
Computer and Systems Architecture | OS and Networks
In the Internet, network traffic between endpoints typically follows one path that is determined by the control plane. Endpoints have little control over the choice of which path their network traffic takes and little ability to verify if the traffic indeed follows a specific path. With the emergence of software-defined networking (SDN), more control over connections can be exercised, and thus the opportunity for novel solutions exists. However, there remain concerns about the attack surface exposed by fine-grained control, which may allow attackers to inject and redirect traffic.
To address these opportunities and concerns, we consider two specific challenges: (1) How can the network determine the choices of paths available to connect endpoints, especially when multiple criteria can be considered? And (2) how can endpoints verify the integrity of the path over which network traffic is sent. The latter consists of two subproblems, determining that the source of traffic is authentic and determining that a specified path is traversed without deviation. In this dissertation, we investigate and present solutions for both the network path finding problem and the verification problem.
We first address path finding, or routing, which is a core functionality in the Internet. Existing approaches are either based on a single criterion (such as path length, delay, or an artificially defined ``weight’’) or use a combinatorial optimization function when there are multiple criteria. We present a multi-criteria routing algorithm that can search the whole space of all possible paths. To achieve the scalability of our solution, we limit the search to only Pareto-optimal paths, which allows us to prune sub-optimal paths quickly and reduce computational complexity. We show that our approach is tractable on a variety of realistic topologies and the results Pareto-optimal paths can be clustered to present a few alternative options.
We then address path verification in the Internet, which consists of source authentication and path validation. Once a path has been selected, we show that an endpoint can validate that traffic indeed traverses along the chosen path. Prior work has relied on cryptographic approaches for such validation, which need significant computational resources. In contrast, we propose a lightweight and scalable technique to address this problem, which uses a set of orthogonal sequences as credentials in the packets. The verification of these orthogonal credentials is based on inner product computations, which can be easily implemented by basic bitwise operations in a processor. We show that the proposed approach can achieve the necessary security properties for both source authentication and path validation. Results from a prototype implementation show that the proposed technique can be implemented efficiently and only add a small computational overhead.
The results of our work enable novel uses of networks with fine-grained traffic control, such as enabling more path choices in networks where multiple performance criteria matter. In addition, our work contributes to efforts to make the Internet more secure by presenting techniques that allow endpoints to validate the source and path of network traffic. We believe that these contributions help with improving both the current Internet and also future networks.
Cai, Hao, "DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF PATH FINDING AND VERIFICATION IN THE INTERNET" (2020). Doctoral Dissertations. 1956.
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