The Internet represents an essential communication infrastructure that needs to be protected from malicious attacks. Many existing attacks and corresponding defense mechanisms have focused on the computers connected to the Internet rather than the network infrastructure itself. However, the network can also be attacked since modern network components use software and hardware components that can exhibit vulnerabilities that have not been previously studied. This project explores this new type of in-network attacks and develops a novel approach to providing fundamental security capabilities in networking hardware based on hardware monitoring techniques.
Modern network routers are typically implemented using embedded multi-core network processors, which implement various packet forwarding operations in software.The use of software instead of hard-coded logic allows router vendors and network providers to customize and update router functionality as necessary. While network processors offer great benefits in terms of flexibility, since they can be reprogrammed, they also exhibit potential security risks. Our project works on improving the understanding of these emerging vulnerabilities in the Internet infrastructure and develop a hardware monitoring system that can detect and stop an entire class of new attacks in order to maintain an operational Internet.
To date, we have already designed a High-performance hardware monitor, and presented a Scalable multi-procossor multi-monitor prototype system. More exciting works will be presented soon.
This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1115999. We gratefully acknowledge Altera Corporation's donation of the DE4 boards and Quartus software.