Identifier Binding Attacks and Defenses in Software-Defined Networks


Samuel Jero, Purdue University; William Koch, Boston University; Richard Skowyra and Hamed Okhravi, MIT Lincoln Laboratory; Cristina Nita-Rotaru, Northeastern University; David Bigelow, MIT Lincoln Laboratory


In this work, we demonstrate a novel attack in SDN networks, Persona Hijacking, that breaks the bindings of all layers of the networking stack and fools the network infrastructure into believing that the attacker is the legitimate owner of the victim’s identifiers, which significantly increases persistence. We then present a defense, SECUREBINDER, that prevents identifier binding attacks at all layers of the network by leveraging SDN’s data and control plane separation, global network view, and programmatic control of the network, while building upon IEEE 802.1x as a root of trust. To evaluate its effectiveness we both implement it in a testbed and use model checking to verify the guarantees it provides.

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@inproceedings {203680,
author = {Samuel Jero and William Koch and Richard Skowyra and Hamed Okhravi and Cristina Nita-Rotaru and David Bigelow},
title = {Identifier Binding Attacks and Defenses in {Software-Defined} Networks},
booktitle = {26th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 17)},
year = {2017},
isbn = {978-1-931971-40-9},
address = {Vancouver, BC},
pages = {415--432},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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