Mobile Networks and Applications

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 764–776 | Cite as

Security in Software-Defined Networking: Threats and Countermeasures

  • Zhaogang Shu
  • Jiafu WanEmail author
  • Di Li
  • Jiaxiang Lin
  • Athanasios V. Vasilakos
  • Muhammad Imran


In recent years, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) has been a focus of research. As a promising network architecture, SDN will possibly replace traditional networking, as it brings promising opportunities for network management in terms of simplicity, programmability, and elasticity. While many efforts are currently being made to standardize this emerging paradigm, careful attention needs to be also paid to security at this early design stage. This paper focuses on the security aspects of SDN. We begin by discussing characteristics and standards of SDN. On the basis of these, we discuss the security features as a whole and then analyze the security threats and countermeasures in detail from three aspects, based on which part of the SDN paradigm they target, i.e., the data forwarding layer, the control layer and the application layer. Countermeasure techniques that could be used to prevent, mitigate, or recover from some of such attacks are also described, while the threats encountered when developing these defensive mechanisms are highlighted.


Software-defined networking SDN Security Security countermeasures 



This work was supported in part by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2015ZZ079), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangxi Province, China (No. 20151BAB207024), the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province, China (No. 2014J05045), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (No. 2015A030308002), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 61262013, 61572220, 41401458, 61363011, and 51575194). Imran’s work is supported by the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University through Research group No. (RG # 1435-051).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhaogang Shu
    • 1
  • Jiafu Wan
    • 2
    Email author
  • Di Li
    • 2
  • Jiaxiang Lin
    • 1
  • Athanasios V. Vasilakos
    • 3
  • Muhammad Imran
    • 4
  1. 1.Fujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouChina
  2. 2.South China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Lulea University of TechnologyLuleåSweden
  4. 4.King Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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