Securing software defined networks: taxonomy, requirements, and open issues

The emergence of SDNs promises to dramatically simplify network management and enable innovation through network programmability. Despite all the hype surrounding SDNs, exploiting its full potential is demanding. Security is still the key concern and is an equally striking challenge that reduces the growth of SDNs. Moreover, the deployment of novel entities and the introduction of several architectural components of SDNs pose new security threats and vulnerabilities. Besides, the landscape of digital threats and cyber-attacks is evolving tremendously, considering SDNs as a potential target to have even more devastating effects than using simple networks. Security is not considered as part of the initial SDN design; therefore, it must be raised on the agenda. This article discusses the state-of-the-art security solutions proposed to secure SDNs.

We classify the security solutions in the literature by presenting a thematic taxonomy based on SDN layers/interfaces, security measures, simulation environments, and security objectives. Moreover, the article points out the possible attacks and threat vectors targeting different layers/interfaces of SDNs. The potential requirements and their key enablers for securing SDNs are also identified and presented. Also, the article gives great guidance for secure and dependable SDNs. Finally, we discuss open issues and challenges of SDN security that may be deemed appropriate to be tackled by researchers and professionals in the future.

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