FlowCloak: Defeating Middlebox-Bypass Attacks In Software-Defined Networking

Kai Bu Zhejiang University, P.R. China
Yutian Yang Zhejiang University, P.R. China
Zixuan Guo Zhejiang University, P.R. China
Yuanyuan Yang Stony Brook University, USA
Xing Li Zhejiang University, P.R. China
Shigeng Zhang Central South University, P.R. China


Software-Defined Networking (SDN) greatly simplifies middlebox policy enforcement. Middleboxes need tag packet headers to avoid forwarding ambiguity on SDN switches. In this paper, we present a new attack, called middlebox-bypass attack, to breach SDN-based middlebox policy enforcement. Such an attack manipulates a compromised switch to locally tag attacking packets without handing them over to the attached middlebox for inspection. Existing SDN security solutions, however, cannot detect the middlebox-bypass attack under practical constraints of efficiency, robustness, and applicability. We design and implement FlowCloak, the first protocol for per-packet real-time detection and prevention of middlebox-bypass attacks. FlowCloak enables middleboxes to generate tags that are probabilistically unknown to an attacker and confines it to only random guessing. We propose a multi-tag verification technique to address the tradeoff between FlowCloak robustness and TCAM usage by tag verification rules on the egress switch. Experiment results show that dozens of verification rules can confine the attacking probability under 0.1%. FlowCloak imposes only a 0.3 ms packet processing delay on middleboxes and no obvious delay on the egress switch.

You may want to know: