arXiv:2403.04113v1 Announce Type: new
Abstract: The open radio access network (O-RAN) offers new degrees of freedom for building and operating advanced cellular networks. Emphasizing on RAN disaggregation, open interfaces, multi-vendor support, and RAN intelligent controllers (RICs), O-RAN facilitates adaptation to new applications and technology trends. Yet, this architecture introduces new security challenges. This paper proposes leveraging zero trust principles for O-RAN security. We introduce zero trust RAN (ZTRAN), which embeds service authentication, intrusion detection, and secure slicing subsystems that are encapsulated as xApps. We implement ZTRAN on the open artificial intelligence cellular (OAIC) research platform and demonstrate its feasibility and effectiveness in terms of legitimate user throughput and latency figures. Our experimental analysis illustrates how ZTRAN’s intrusion detection and secure slicing microservices operate effectively and in concert as part of O-RAN Alliance’s containerized near-real time RIC. Research directions include exploring machine learning and additional threat intelligence feeds for improving the performance and extending the scope of ZTRAN.

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