Keywords: backdoor attack and defense, neural architecture search
TL;DR: This paper presents EVAS, a new attack to leverage NAS to find neural architectures with exploitable backdoor vulnerability.
Abstract: This paper asks the intriguing question: is it possible to exploit neural architecture search (NAS) as a new attack vector to launch previously improbable attacks? Specifically, we present EVAS, a new attack that leverages NAS to find neural architectures with inherent backdoors and exploits such vulnerability using input-aware triggers. Compared with existing attacks, EVAS demonstrates many interesting properties: (i) it does not require polluting training data or perturbing model parameters; (ii) it is agnostic to downstream fine-tuning or even re-training from scratch; (iii) it naturally evades defenses that rely on inspecting model parameters or training data. With extensive evaluation on benchmark datasets, we show that EVAS features high evasiveness, transferability, and robustness, thereby expanding the adversary's design spectrum. We further characterize the mechanisms underlying EVAS, which are possibly explainable by architecture-level ``shortcuts'' that recognize trigger patterns. This work showcases that NAS can be exploited in a harmful way to find architectures with inherent backdoor vulnerability. The code is available at https://github.com/ain-soph/nas_backdoor.
Anonymous Url: I certify that there is no URL (e.g., github page) that could be used to find authors’ identity.
No Acknowledgement Section: I certify that there is no acknowledgement section in this submission for double blind review.
Code Of Ethics: I acknowledge that I and all co-authors of this work have read and commit to adhering to the ICLR Code of Ethics
Submission Guidelines: Yes
Please Choose The Closest Area That Your Submission Falls Into: Deep Learning and representational learning