School of
Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

Speaker: Talal Alharbi
Seminar Date: Thu, 02/11/2017 - 11:00
Venue: 78-622
Host: Assoc Prof Marius Portmann

Seminar Type:  PhD Thesis Review


Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an emerging computer network paradigm and represents one of the most promising technologies to simplify network management and configuration through increased network programmability and abstraction. In contrast to traditional networks, in SDN the entity that makes decisions on how to forward traffic (control plane) is separated from the entity that forwards traffic to selected destinations (data plane). This makes network control (via the SDN controller) more programmable, dynamic and centralised. With the higher level of abstraction that SDN provides, network administrators can more easily configure network services and manage traffic flows without having to configure a large number of individual network devices (switches and routers). The great potential of SDN has led to significant deployments in data centres, wide area networks etc., and it is growing at a rapid pace. Security is a critical aspect in networking in general and is particularly important in SDN. Due to its fundamentally new architecture, SDN presents new potential security vulnerabilities and risks. Security in SDN has not received much attention yet, given that it is very new. The goal of this PhD was to address this gap and analyse the security of the SDN infrastructure, identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses, and propose corresponding solutions and improvements. The focus was on the key aspects and components of SDN in particular, the building blocks of the control plane components include Topology Discovery, Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) Handling and Virtualisation Layer. Finally, the thesis thoroughly explored and investigated the most common and effective attacks against the SDN architecture.


Talal Alharbi completed his B.Sc. in Computer Science at Qassim University, Saudi Arabia and a MSc in Network Security and System Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), USA. Currently, he is studying toward a PhD degree in Security of Software Defined Networks at UQ under the supervision of A/Prof Marius Portmann and Prof Jadwiga Indulska.

Duration of talk:  40 min