Snort Intrusion Detection System with Intel Software Guard Extension (Intel SGX)

02/01/2018 ∙ by Dmitrii Kuvaiskii, et al. ∙ 0

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) promises the benefits of reduced infrastructure, personnel, and management costs by outsourcing network middleboxes to the public or private cloud. Unfortunately, running network functions in the cloud entails security challenges, especially for complex stateful services. In this paper, we describe our experiences with hardening the king of middleboxes - Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) - using Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) technology. Our IDS secured using Intel SGX, called SEC-IDS, is an unmodified Snort 3 with a DPDK network layer that achieves 10Gbps line rate. SEC-IDS guarantees computational integrity by running all Snort code inside an Intel SGX enclave. At the same time, SEC-IDS achieves near-native performance, with throughput close to 100 percent of vanilla Snort 3, by retaining network I/O outside of the enclave. Our experiments indicate that performance is only constrained by the modest Enclave Page Cache size available on current Intel SGX Skylake based E3 Xeon platforms. Finally, we kept the porting effort minimal by using the Graphene-SGX library OS. Only 27 Lines of Code (LoC) were modified in Snort and 178 LoC in Graphene-SGX itself.

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