A security assessment mechanism for software-defined networking-based mobile networks

Shibo Luo, Mianxiong Dong*, Kaoru Ota, Jun Wu, Jianhua Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Software-Defined Networking-based Mobile Networks (SDN-MNs) are considered the future of 5G mobile network architecture. With the evolving cyber-attack threat, security assessments need to be performed in the network management. Due to the distinctive features of SDN-MNs, such as their dynamic nature and complexity, traditional network security assessment methodologies cannot be applied directly to SDN-MNs, and a novel security assessment methodology is needed. In this paper, an effective security assessment mechanism based on attack graphs and an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is proposed for SDN-MNs. Firstly, this paper discusses the security assessment problem of SDN-MNs and proposes a methodology using attack graphs and AHP. Secondly, to address the diversity and complexity of SDN-MNs, a novel attack graph definition and attack graph generation algorithm are proposed. In order to quantify security levels, the Node Minimal Effort (NME) is defined to quantify attack cost and derive system security levels based on NME. Thirdly, to calculate the NME of an attack graph that takes the dynamic factors of SDN-MN into consideration, we use AHP integrated with the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) as the methodology. Finally, we offer a case study to validate the proposed methodology. The case study and evaluation show the advantages of the proposed security assessment mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31843-31858
Number of pages16
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 17
Externally publishedYes


  • 5G
  • Analytic hierarchy process
  • Attack graph
  • Security assessment
  • Software-defined networking based mobile networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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