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SDN and NFV Security

A recent study by Statistics Canada shows that cyber attacks have cost Canadian businesses $14 billion in 2017 alone.

To that end, cyberattacks on Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)-based cloud and edge computing infrastructures will quickly become a central focus in securing the telecommunications networks, which are part of the national critical infrastructure upon which our society critically depends today.

The primary objective of the proposed research program is to develop a series of solutions to improve the security of SDN/NFV-based cloud and edge computing virtual infrastructures, with special application to the virtual radio access networks (vRAN).

The new knowledge and technologies that would be transferred to the industrial partner and Canadian telecommunications industry through this research include security solutions that encompass a full lifecycle at both the core and edge of telecommunication networks, i.e., monitoring the security compliance of SDN/NFV-based virtual infrastructures, detecting misconfigurations or attacks causing compliance breaches, and mitigating the detected threats proactively.

The key benefits expected to accrue to both the industry and academia include novel research models, methodologies, and results that would advance the state of the art by tackling key challenges in the efficiency (e.g., how to perform continuous security verification for large and dynamic virtual infrastructures in near real-time), accuracy (e.g., how to quantify the co-residency threats), automation (e.g., how to automatically identify critical events leading to compliance violations), and privacy (e.g., how to protect tenants’ virtual network topologies from third party auditors) aspects of the security solutions.

Other benefits include best practices and recommendations that could be adopted and deployed by the partner and the industry to improve the overall security of telecommunication networks and the training of HQP with a specialized skill set and expertise for an industry that increasingly relies on virtual infrastructures.

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