A game theory approach for protecting 5G control plane from DDoS signalling attacks

Renato Silva, Carlos Colman Meixner, Rafael Silva Guimaraes, Thierno Diallo, Borja Otura Garcia, Magnos Martinello, Katia Katia Obraczka, Luiz Felipe De Moraes, Reza Nejabati, Dimitra Simeonidou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


The convergent service-based architecture of the 5G network is more prone to devastating attacks against its control plane comparing to its predecessors. Therefore, studying mitigation methods for protecting the control plane without compromising legitimate traffic is crucial. In this work we address the problem of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against the 5G control plane, launched by a number of remotely controlled smartphones, proposing a defence framework based on strategic resource scaling.
Leveraging from the virtualised 5G control plane, we introduce an offload-based approach where the incoming traffic is attracted to new weight-managed resources. Besides improving the control plane availability, our analytic model based on game theory enables an intelligent resource scaling according to the attacker’s payoff. To demonstrate the feasibility and the effectiveness of our approach we also present a testbed comprising of multiple simulated users connected at a real virtualised EPC based on the Open Air Interface platform. The results obtained from the testbed show an offloading level up to 60% on the attack target, when duplicating the attacked resource.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberTDSC-2019-01-0062
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
Publication statusSubmitted - 30 Jan 2019


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