Sign Bits Are All You Need for Black-Box Attacks

Anonymous

Sep 25, 2019 Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Keywords: Black-box adversarial attack models, Deep Nets, Adversarial Examples, Black-Box Optimization, Zeroth-Order Optimization
  • TL;DR: We present a sign-based, rather than magnitude-based, gradient estimation approach that shifts gradient estimation from continuous to binary black-box optimization.
  • Abstract: We present a novel black-box adversarial attack algorithm with state-of-the-art model evasion rates for query efficiency under $\ell_\infty$ and $\ell_2$ metrics. It exploits a \textit{sign-based}, rather than magnitude-based, gradient estimation approach that shifts the gradient estimation from continuous to binary black-box optimization. It adaptively constructs queries to estimate the gradient, one query relying upon the previous, rather than re-estimating the gradient each step with random query construction. Its reliance on sign bits yields a smaller memory footprint and it requires neither hyperparameter tuning or dimensionality reduction. Further, its theoretical performance is guaranteed and it can characterize adversarial subspaces better than white-box gradient-aligned subspaces. On two public black-box attack challenges and a model robustly trained against transfer attacks, the algorithm's evasion rates surpass all submitted attacks. For a suite of published models, the algorithm is $3.8\times$ less failure-prone while spending $2.5\times$ fewer queries versus the best combination of state of art algorithms. For example, it evades a standard MNIST model using just $12$ queries on average. Similar performance is observed on a standard IMAGENET model with an average of $579$ queries.
  • Code: https://github.com/sign4bb/sign_4_bb
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