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TOWARDS A SECURITY REFERENCE ARCHITECTURE FOR NETWORK FUNCTION VIRTUALIZATION

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Date Issued:
2020
Abstract/Description:
Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is an emerging technology that transforms legacy hardware-based network infrastructure into software-based virtualized networks. Instead of using dedicated hardware and network equipment, NFV relies on cloud and virtualization technologies to deliver network services to its users. These virtualized network services are considered better solutions than hardware-based network functions because their resources can be dynamically increased upon the consumer’s request. While their usefulness can’t be denied, they also have some security implications. In complex systems like NFV, the threats can come from a variety of domains due to it containing both the hardware and the virtualize entities in its infrastructure. Also, since it relies on software, the network service in NFV can be manipulated by external entities like third-party providers or consumers. This leads the NFV to have a larger attack surface than the traditional network infrastructure. In addition to its own threats, NFV also inherits security threats from its underlying cloud infrastructure. Therefore, to design a secure NFV system and utilize its full potential, we must have a good understanding of its underlying architecture and its possible security threats. Up until now, only imprecise models of this architecture existed. We try to improve this situation by using architectural modeling to describe and analyze the threats to NFV. Architectural modeling using Patterns and Reference Architectures (RAs) applies abstraction, which helps to reduce the complexity of NFV systems by defining their components at their highest level. The literature lacks attempts to implement this approach to analyze NFV threats. We started by enumerating the possible threats that may jeopardize the NFV system. Then, we performed an analysis of the threats to identify the possible misuses that could be performed from them. These threats are realized in the form of misuse patterns that show how an attack is performed from the point of view of attackers. Some of the most important threats are privilege escalation, virtual machine escape, and distributed denial-of-service. We used a reference architecture of NFV to determine where to add security mechanisms in order to mitigate the identified threats. This produces our ultimate goal, which is building a security reference architecture for NFV.
Title: TOWARDS A SECURITY REFERENCE ARCHITECTURE FOR NETWORK FUNCTION VIRTUALIZATION.
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Name(s): Alnaim, Abdulrahman K., author
Fernandez, Eduardo B. , Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2020
Date Issued: 2020
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 137 p.
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is an emerging technology that transforms legacy hardware-based network infrastructure into software-based virtualized networks. Instead of using dedicated hardware and network equipment, NFV relies on cloud and virtualization technologies to deliver network services to its users. These virtualized network services are considered better solutions than hardware-based network functions because their resources can be dynamically increased upon the consumer’s request. While their usefulness can’t be denied, they also have some security implications. In complex systems like NFV, the threats can come from a variety of domains due to it containing both the hardware and the virtualize entities in its infrastructure. Also, since it relies on software, the network service in NFV can be manipulated by external entities like third-party providers or consumers. This leads the NFV to have a larger attack surface than the traditional network infrastructure. In addition to its own threats, NFV also inherits security threats from its underlying cloud infrastructure. Therefore, to design a secure NFV system and utilize its full potential, we must have a good understanding of its underlying architecture and its possible security threats. Up until now, only imprecise models of this architecture existed. We try to improve this situation by using architectural modeling to describe and analyze the threats to NFV. Architectural modeling using Patterns and Reference Architectures (RAs) applies abstraction, which helps to reduce the complexity of NFV systems by defining their components at their highest level. The literature lacks attempts to implement this approach to analyze NFV threats. We started by enumerating the possible threats that may jeopardize the NFV system. Then, we performed an analysis of the threats to identify the possible misuses that could be performed from them. These threats are realized in the form of misuse patterns that show how an attack is performed from the point of view of attackers. Some of the most important threats are privilege escalation, virtual machine escape, and distributed denial-of-service. We used a reference architecture of NFV to determine where to add security mechanisms in order to mitigate the identified threats. This produces our ultimate goal, which is building a security reference architecture for NFV.
Identifier: FA00013435 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2020.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Computer network architectures--Safety measures
Virtual computer systems
Computer networks
Modeling, Computer
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00013435
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.