Increasing Confidence in Adversarial Robustness EvaluationsDownload PDF

Published: 31 Oct 2022, Last Modified: 22 Oct 2023NeurIPS 2022 AcceptReaders: Everyone
Keywords: adversarial robustness, robustness, adversarial attack
TL;DR: We propose a test that enables researchers to find flawed adversarial robustness evaluations. Passing our test produces compelling evidence that the attacks used have sufficient power to evaluate the model’s robustness.
Abstract: Hundreds of defenses have been proposed to make deep neural networks robust against minimal (adversarial) input perturbations. However, only a handful of these defenses held up their claims because correctly evaluating robustness is extremely challenging: Weak attacks often fail to find adversarial examples even if they unknowingly exist, thereby making a vulnerable network look robust. In this paper, we propose a test to identify weak attacks and, thus, weak defense evaluations. Our test slightly modifies a neural network to guarantee the existence of an adversarial example for every sample. Consequentially, any correct attack must succeed in breaking this modified network. For eleven out of thirteen previously-published defenses, the original evaluation of the defense fails our test, while stronger attacks that break these defenses pass it. We hope that attack unit tests - such as ours - will be a major component in future robustness evaluations and increase confidence in an empirical field that is currently riddled with skepticism.
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