Friday, October 28, 2011


Very good summary of what OpenFlow means to security by my friend Fernando.

The interesting part in his post is this one:

“Well, for all the power that OpenFlow offers, it can still only visualize flows in the context of L2-L4 attributes: what port is connected, what the IP address is, what protocol, etc... In the meantime, it comes as no surprise to anyone that the threat profile has long since changed to the application layers, exploiting Adobe PDF, Flash, SQL Injections, Cross-Site Scriptings, ... To me, what this will mean is that these higher-layer security controls - be they Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Network Forensics, Host Security Agents ... - still need to intercept and inspect traffic.” 

That’s true, but the real value from OpenFlow is how it allows us to perform security interventions dynamically; you’ll still need to inspect traffic at higher layers to find trouble, but once  you’ve found reasons to believe there’s malicious activity going on OpenFlow can be used to selectively add more inspection capabilities and apply damage control measures.

It’s always good to get some new tools to our arsenal. The bad guys are far ahead in that aspect, so better start thinking about improving our instrumentation capabilities too.

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