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Towards an access control scheme for accessing flows in SDN

Sharing network resources with user groups, divisions, or even other companies in software defined networking promises better network utilization. Resource sharing is effectively realized by empowering these tenants at the control plane with permissions for administrating network components. However, since the network resources at the data plane are shared and different tenants can have competing objectives, mechanisms are needed to protect the network resources from unauthorized access.

In this paper, we propose mechanisms that focus on protecting the network flows, which are determined by the entries installed in the flow tables of the shared switches. To this end, we present an access control scheme, based on the Open Flow model, for accessing the switches’ flow tables and their entries. Our scheme accounts for various security requirements in multi-tenant networks, including requirements on sharing flow table entries for handling network flows, and the resolution of conflicts originating from the reconfiguration of network components.

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