Backdoor or Feature? A New Perspective on Data PoisoningDownload PDF

Published: 01 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 13 Feb 2023Submitted to ICLR 2023Readers: Everyone
TL;DR: A new theoretical foundation of data poisoning, with a theory inspired defense algorithm
Abstract: In a backdoor attack, an adversary adds maliciously constructed ("backdoor") examples into a training set to make the resulting model vulnerable to manipulation. Defending against such attacks---that is, finding and removing the backdoor examples---typically involves viewing these examples as outliers and using techniques from robust statistics to detect and remove them. In this work, we present a new perspective on backdoor attacks. We argue that without structural information on the training data distribution, backdoor attacks are indistinguishable from naturally-occuring features in the data (and thus impossible to ``detect'' in a general sense). To circumvent this impossibility, we assume that a backdoor attack corresponds to the strongest feature in the training data. Under this assumption---which we make formal---we develop a new framework for detecting backdoor attacks. Our framework naturally gives rise to a corresponding algorithm whose efficacy we show both theoretically and experimentally.
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Please Choose The Closest Area That Your Submission Falls Into: Deep Learning and representational learning
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