DELTA – SDN security evaluation framework


What is DELTA?

DELTA is a penetration testing framework that regenerates known attack scenarios for diverse test cases. This framework also provides the capability of discovering unknown security problems in SDN by employing a fuzzing technique.

  • Agent-Manager is the control tower. It takes full control over all the agents deployed to the target SDN network.
  • Application-Agent is a legitimate SDN application that conducts attack procedures and is controller-dependent. The known malicious functions are implemented as application-agent functions.
  • Channel-Agent is deployed between the controller and the OpenFlow-enabled switch. The agent sniffs and modifies the unencrypted control messages. It is controller-independent.
  • Host-Agent behaves as if it was a legitimate host participating in the target SDN network. The agent demonstrates an attack in which a host attempts to compromise the control plane.

Delta architecture


In order to build and run DELTA, the following are required:

  • An agent manager based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 64 bit
    • Ant build system
    • Maven v3.3.9
    • LXC 2.0
    • JDK 1.8
  • Target Controller (for application agent)
  • Cbench (for channel agent)
  • Mininet 2.2 (for host agent)
  • (in the case of All-In-One Single Machine) Three lxc containers based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 64 bit.
    • Container-1: Target controller + Application agent
    • Container-2: Channel agent
    • Container-3: Host agent

Installing DELTA

DELTA installation depends on maven and ant build system. The mvn command is used to install the agent-manager and the agents. DELTA can support an All-In-One Single Machine environment via containers as well as a real hardware SDN environment.

  • STEP 1. Get the source code of DELTA on the agent manager machine
$ git clone
  • STEP 2. Install DELTA dependencies
$ cd <DELTA>/tools/dev/delta-setup/
$ ./delta-setup-devenv-ubuntu
  • STEP 3. Install three containers using lxc
$ source ./<DELTA>/tools/dev/delta-setup/bash_profile
$ cd <DELTA>/tools/dev/lxc-setup
$ ./lxc-dev-install

$ sudo vi /etc/default/lxc-net
Uncomment "LXC_DHCP_CONFILE=/etc/lxc/dnsmasq.conf"
$ sudo service lxc-net restart
$ sudo lxc-start -n container-cp -d

$ sudo vi /etc/apparmor.d/abstractions/lxc/container-base
Uncomment "mount options=(rw, make-rprivate) -> **,"
$ sudo apparmor_parser -r /etc/apparmor.d/lxc-containers

$ cd ~
$ ssh-keygen -t rsa
(Press Enter)
$ ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/ $DELTA_CP
(ID: ubuntu, PW: ubuntu)

$ ssh $DELTA_CP
(DELTA_CP) $ sudo visudo
In the bottom of the file, type the follow:
(DELTA_CP) $ exit

$ cd <DELTA>/tools/dev/lxc-setup
$ ./lxc-dev-setup
$ ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/ $DELTA_CH
$ ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/ $DELTA_DP

  • STEP 4. Install DELTA using maven build
$ cd <DELTA>
$ source ./tools/dev/delta-setup/bash_profile
$ mvn clean install
  • The test environment is automatically setup as below:


Configuring your own experiments

  • The agent-manager automatically reads a configuration file and sets up the test environment based on the file. [/tools/config/manager_default.cfg] contains the All-In-One Single Machine configuration by default.
CONTROLLER_SSH=[account-id]@[agent-controller ipAddr]
CHANNEL_SSH=[account-id]@[agent-channel ipAddr]
HOST_SSH=[account-id]@[agent-host ipAddr]
CONTROLLER_IP=[agent-controller ipAddr]
SWITCH_IP=[agent-host ipAddr],[agent-host ipAddr],[agent-host ipAddr]
DUMMY_CONT_IP=[agent-manager ipAddr]
AM_IP=[agent-manager ipAddr]

Floodlight 1.2

$ cd <DELTA>/tools/dev/app-agent-setup
$ ./floodlight-1.2-scp

ONOS 1.1 (depreciated)

$ cd <DELTA>/tools/dev/app-agent-setup/onos
$ ./onos-1.1.0-scp
(on the controller machine) $ ./onos-1.1.0-setup

ONOS 1.6, 1.9 or 1.13.1

$ cd <DELTA>/tools/dev/app-agent-setup/onos
$ ./delta-setup-onos <onos-version>
$ ./delta-scp-onos <onos-version>
* Supported ONOS version in the script: 1.6, 1.9, 1.13.1

OpenDaylight Oxygen

$ cd <DELTA>/tools/dev/app-agent-setup
$ ./odl-oxygen-scp

Ryu 4.16

$ cd <DELTA>/tools/dev/app-agent-setup/ryu
$ ./delta-setup-ryu
  • The app-agent (on the controller container) needs 'agent.cfg' file to connect to the agent-manager.
MANAGER_IP=[agent-manager ipAddr]

Running DELTA

  • STEP 1. Distribute the executable files to Containers
$ cd <DELTA>
$ source ./tools/dev/delta-setup/bash_profile
$ ./tools/dev/delta-setup/delta-agents-scp
  • STEP 2. Execute Agent-Manager first
$ cd <DELTA>
$ bin/run-delta <configuration file>
(e.g., bin/run-delta config/manager_vm.cfg)

 DELTA: A Penetration Testing Framework for Software-Defined Networks

 [pP]	- Show all known attacks
 [cC]	- Show configuration info
 [kK]	- Replaying known attack(s)
 [uU]	- Finding an unknown attack
 [qQ]	- Quit

  • STEP 3. Connect Web-based UI (port number is 7070) WEB

Main Contributors

  • Seungsoo Lee (KAIST)
  • Jinwoo Kim (KAIST)
  • Seungwon Woo (KAIST)
  • Haney Kang (KAIST)
  • Jaehan Kim (KAIST)
  • Changhoon Yoon (KAIST)
  • Sandra Scott-Hayward (Queen's University Belfast)
  • Seungwon Shin (KAIST)


  • Phil Porras, Vinod Yegneswaran (SRI International)
  • Kyuho Hwang, Daewon Jung (National Security Research Institute)
  • Atto Research
  • collabo


Send questions or feedback to: [email protected][email protected]

Original repository:

July 1, 2021
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