Online Adversarial AttacksDownload PDF

Published: 28 Jan 2022, Last Modified: 22 Oct 2023ICLR 2022 PosterReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Online Algorithms, Adversarial Attacks
Abstract: Adversarial attacks expose important vulnerabilities of deep learning models, yet little attention has been paid to settings where data arrives as a stream. In this paper, we formalize the online adversarial attack problem, emphasizing two key elements found in real-world use-cases: attackers must operate under partial knowledge of the target model, and the decisions made by the attacker are irrevocable since they operate on a transient data stream. We first rigorously analyze a deterministic variant of the online threat model by drawing parallels to the well-studied $k$-secretary problem in theoretical computer science and propose Virtual+, a simple yet practical online algorithm. Our main theoretical result shows Virtual+ yields provably the best competitive ratio over all single-threshold algorithms for $k<5$---extending the previous analysis of the $k$-secretary problem. We also introduce the \textit{stochastic $k$-secretary}---effectively reducing online blackbox transfer attacks to a $k$-secretary problem under noise---and prove theoretical bounds on the performance of Virtual+ adapted to this setting. Finally, we complement our theoretical results by conducting experiments on MNIST, CIFAR-10, and Imagenet classifiers, revealing the necessity of online algorithms in achieving near-optimal performance and also the rich interplay between attack strategies and online attack selection, enabling simple strategies like FGSM to outperform stronger adversaries.
One-sentence Summary: We consider a new adversarial attack setting in which the data arrives as a stream and an adversary must pick top-k items to craft blackbox transfer attacks against an unkown target model.
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