SafeBricks: Shielding Network Functions in the Cloud


Rishabh Poddar, Chang Lan, Raluca Ada Popa, and Sylvia Ratnasamy, UC Berkeley


With the advent of network function virtualization (NFV), outsourcing network processing to the cloud is growing in popularity amongst enterprises and organizations. Such outsourcing, however, poses a threat to the security of the client’s traffic because the cloud is notoriously susceptible to attacks.

We present SafeBricks, a system that shields generic network functions (NFs) from an untrusted cloud. SafeBricks ensures that only encrypted traffic is exposed to the cloud provider, and preserves the integrity of both traffic and the NFs. At the same time, it enables clients to reduce their trust in NF implementations by enforcing least privilege across NFs deployed in a chain. SafeBricks does not require changes to TLS, and safeguards the interests of NF vendors as well by shielding NF code and rulesets from both clients and the cloud. To achieve its aims, SafeBricks leverages a combination of hardware enclaves and language-based enforcement. SafeBricks is practical, and its overheads range between ~0–15% across applications.

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@inproceedings {211281,
author = {Rishabh Poddar and Chang Lan and Raluca Ada Popa and Sylvia Ratnasamy},
title = {SafeBricks: Shielding Network Functions in the Cloud},
booktitle = {15th {USENIX} Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation ({NSDI} 18)},
year = {2018},
isbn = {978-1-931971-43-0},
address = {Renton, WA},
pages = {201--216},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},