SDN-Enabled Virtual Data Diode

  • Miguel Borges de Freitas
  • Luis Rosa
  • Tiago CruzEmail author
  • Paulo Simões
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11387)


The growing number of cyber-attacks targeting critical infrastructures, as well as the effort to ensure compliance with security standards (e.g. Common Criteria certifications), has pushed for Industrial Automation Control Systems to move away from the use of conventional firewalls in favor of hardware-enforced strict unidirectional gateways (data diodes). However, with the expected increase in the number of interconnected devices, the sole use of data diodes for network isolation may become financially impractical for some infrastructure operators.

This paper proposes an alternative, designed to leverage the benefits of Software Defined Networking (SDN) to virtualize the data diode. Besides presenting the proposed approach, a review of data diode products is also provided, along with an overview of multiple SDN-based strategies designed to emulate the same functionality. The proposed solution was evaluated by means of a prototype implementation built on top of a distributed SDN controller and designed for multi-tenant network environments. This prototype, which was developed with a focus in performance and availability quality attributes, is able to deploy a virtual data diode in the millisecond range while keeping the latency of the data plane to minimal values.


Data diode Unidirectional gateways Software Defined Networks Industrial and automation control systems 



This work was partially funded by the ATENA H2020 Project (H2020-DS-2015-1 Project 700581) and Mobiwise P2020 SAICTPAC/0011/2015 Project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel Borges de Freitas
    • 1
  • Luis Rosa
    • 1
  • Tiago Cruz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paulo Simões
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Informatics Engineering, Centre of Informatics and SystemsUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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