CUPS Hijacking in Mobile RAN Slicing: Modeling, Prototyping, and Analysis

Rupendra Nath Mitra, Mohamed M. Kassem, Jon Larrea, Mahesh K. Marina

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

In emerging mobile networks, control and user plane separation (CUPS) plays a critical role in scaling the control plane and user-plane functions independently and enables network virtualization through network slicing. However, a CUPS hijacking attack on a mobile network slicing system and the resulting network performance degradation is yet to be studied.

In this work, we investigate the consequences of CUPS hijacking of a radio access network (RAN) slicing system on the overall network performances. We quantify the impacts of CUPS hijacking by designing an Impact Factor metric I, prototype a real-world RAN slicing use case on an end-to-end mobile network test-bed, and systematically analyze the empirical results to reveal the impacts of CUPS hijacking on the network performance. We show a successful CUPS hijacking by a rogue slice owner in a RAN slicing system increases the RAN slice control-plane signalling delay above 2ms, the operational upper-bound of our system, to disrupt the control plane operations by injecting low rate DoS (LDoS) traffic in user-plane. The naive hijacking can degrade throughput performances of the rogue slice as well as a co-located victim slice down to 0 Mbps. We further show that a carefully crafted user-plane traffic by the attacker can regain ∼92% of its original user-plane packet delivery success rate while other slices are under the denial of service.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6654-4496-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-4497-2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022
Event2021 IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security - Virtual Conference
Duration: 4 Oct 20216 Oct 2021


Conference2021 IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security
Abbreviated titleCNS 2021
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • 5G security
  • secure slicing
  • RAN slicing
  • CUPS hijacking
  • DoS


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