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Assessment of Connectivity-based Resilience to Attacks Against Multiple Nodes in SDNs

Santos, D. ; Sousa, A. F. ; Mas Machuca, C. ; Rak, J.

IEEE Access Vol. 9, Nº -, pp. 58266 - 58286, April, 2021.

ISSN (print): 2169-3536
ISSN (online):

Journal Impact Factor: (in )

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3071995

In Software Defined Networks (SDNs), the control plane of a network is decoupled from its data plane. For scalability and robustness, the logically centralized control plane is implemented by physically placing different controllers throughout the network. The determination of the number and placement of controllers is known as the Controller Placement Problem (CPP). In the regular (i.e., failure-free) state, the control plane must guarantee a given maximum delay between every switch and its primary controller and a given maximum delay between every pair of controllers. In general, these delay bounds allow multiple solutions and, so, other goals can be used to determine the best CPP solution. In this paper, we assess the connectivity-based resilience to malicious attacks against multiple network nodes of the CPP solutions obtained with three different aims: the regular state delay optimization without any concern about attacks, the regular state delay optimization taking into consideration the worst-case attacks and the resilience optimization to attacks against multiple nodes. We assess the CPP solutions considering attacks of targeted nature (when the attacker has complete knowledge of the data plane) and attacks of non-targeted nature (i.e., random and epidemic attacks). We present computational results providing an analysis of the CPP solutions to the different types of attacks. The main conclusion is that the connectivity-based resilience between the different CPP solutions strongly depends on the network topology, the regular state delay bounds and the type of attacks. Finally, we provide insights on how SDN operators can consider the conducted assessment when deciding the controller placements in their networks.