Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Globecom 2014 - Communication and Information System Security Symposium, Pages: 781 - 786, DOI: 10.1109/GLOCOM.2014.7036903


Copyright © 2014 IEEE. Used by permission.


As the popularity of software defined networks (SDN) and OpenFlow increases, policy-driven network management has received more attention. Manual configuration of multiple devices is being replaced by an automated approach where a software-based, network-aware controller handles the configuration of all network devices. Software applications running on top of the network controller provide an abstraction of the topology and facilitate the task of operating the network.

We propose OpenSec, an OpenFlow-based security framework that allows a network security operator to create and implement security policies written in human-readable language. Using OpenSec, the user can describe a flow in terms of OpenFlow matching fields, define which security services must be applied to that flow (deep packet inspection, intrusion detection, spam detection, etc) and specify security levels that define how OpenSec reacts if malicious traffic is detected. We implement OpenSec in the GENI testbed to evaluate the flexibility, accuracy and scalability of the framework. The experimental setup includes deep packet inspection, intrusion detection and network quarantining to secure a web server from network scanners. We achieve a constant delay when reacting to security alerts and a detection rate of 98%.