Privacy Risk in Machine Learning: Analyzing the Connection to Overfitting Machine Learning

Machine learning algorithms, when applied to sensitive data, pose a distinct threat to privacy. A growing body of prior work demonstrates that models produced by these algorithms may leak specific private information in the training data to an attacker, either through the models' structure or their observable behavior. However, the underlying cause of this privacy risk is not well understood beyond a handful of anecdotal accounts that suggest overfitting and influence might play a role. This paper examines the effect that overfitting and influence have on the ability of an attacker to learn information about the training data from machine learning models, either through training set membership inference or attribute inference attacks. Using both formal and empirical analyses, we illustrate a clear relationship between these factors and the privacy risk that arises in several popular machine learning algorithms. We find that overfitting is sufficient to allow an attacker to perform membership inference and, when the target attribute meets certain conditions about its influence, attribute inference attacks. Interestingly, our formal analysis also shows that overfitting is not necessary for these attacks and begins to shed light on what other factors may be in play. Finally, we explore the connection between membership inference and attribute inference, showing that there are deep connections between the two that lead to effective new attacks.

Stolen Memories: Leveraging Model Memorization for Calibrated White-Box Membership Inference Machine Learning

Membership inference (MI) attacks exploit a learned model's lack of generalization to infer whether a given sample was in the model's training set. Known MI attacks generally work by casting the attacker's goal as a supervised learning problem, training an attack model from predictions generated by the target model, or by others like it. However, we find that these attacks do not often provide a meaningful basis for confidently inferring training set membership, as the attack models are not well-calibrated. Moreover, these attacks do not significantly outperform a trivial attack that predicts that a point is a member if and only if the model correctly predicts its label. In this work we present well-calibrated MI attacks that allow the attacker to accurately control the minimum confidence with which positive membership inferences are made. Our attacks take advantage of white-box information about the target model and leverage new insights about how overfitting occurs in deep neural networks; namely, we show how a model's idiosyncratic use of features can provide evidence for membership. Experiments on seven real-world datasets show that our attacks support calibration for high-confidence inferences, while outperforming previous MI attacks in terms of accuracy. Finally, we show that our attacks achieve non-trivial advantage on some models with low generalization error, including those trained with small-epsilon-differential privacy; for large-epsilon (epsilon=16, as reported in some industrial settings), the attack performs comparably to unprotected models.

Comprehensive Privacy Analysis of Deep Learning: Stand-alone and Federated Learning under Passive and Active White-box Inference Attacks Machine Learning

Abstract--Deep neural networks are susceptible to various inference attacks as they remember information about their training data. We perform a comprehensive analysis of white-box privacy inference attacks on deep learning models. We measure the privacy leakage by leveraging the final model parameters as well as the parameter updates during the training and finetuning processes.We design the attacks in the stand-alone and federated settings, with respect to passive and active inference attackers, and assuming different adversary prior knowledge. We evaluate our novel white-box membership inference attacks against deep learning algorithms to measure their training data membership leakage. We show that a straightforward extension of the known black-box attacks to the white-box setting (through analyzing the outputs of activation functions) is ineffective. We therefore design new algorithms tailored to the white-box setting by exploiting the privacy vulnerabilities of the stochastic gradient descent algorithm, widely used to train deep neural networks. We show that even well-generalized models are significantly susceptible towhite-box membership inference attacks, by analyzing state-of-the-art pre-trained and publicly available models for the CIFAR dataset. We also show how adversarial participants of a federated learning setting can run active membership inference attacks against other participants, even when the global model achieves high prediction accuracies. I. INTRODUCTION Machine learning models based on deep neural networks have been shown to have significantly high generalization accuracies for various learning tasks, from image and speech recognition to generating realistic-looking data. This success has led to many applications and services that use deep learning algorithms on large-dimension (and potentially sensitive) userdata, including user speeches, images, and medical, financial, social, and location data points. The crucial question we ask in this paper is the following: How much is the privacy risks of deep learning for individuals whose data is used as part of the training set? In other words, how much is the information leakage of deep learning algorithms about their individual training data samples? We define privacy-sensitive leakage of a model about a set of target trained data record(s) as the information that an adversary can infer about the data records, that could not have been inferred from similar models not using the target data records. This distinguishes between the information that we can learn from the model about the population and the information that it leaks about particular samples from the population that were in its training set. The former indicates utility gain, and the later reflects privacy loss. We design inference attacks to quantify such privacy leakage. Theinference attacks fall into two fundamental and related categories: tracing (a.k.a.

Membership Inference Attacks against Machine Learning Models Machine Learning

We quantitatively investigate how machine learning models leak information about the individual data records on which they were trained. We focus on the basic membership inference attack: given a data record and black-box access to a model, determine if the record was in the model's training dataset. To perform membership inference against a target model, we make adversarial use of machine learning and train our own inference model to recognize differences in the target model's predictions on the inputs that it trained on versus the inputs that it did not train on. We empirically evaluate our inference techniques on classification models trained by commercial "machine learning as a service" providers such as Google and Amazon. Using realistic datasets and classification tasks, including a hospital discharge dataset whose membership is sensitive from the privacy perspective, we show that these models can be vulnerable to membership inference attacks. We then investigate the factors that influence this leakage and evaluate mitigation strategies.

When Relaxations Go Bad: "Differentially-Private" Machine Learning Machine Learning

Differential privacy is becoming a standard notion for performing privacy-preserving machine learning over sensitive data. It provides formal guarantees, in terms of the privacy budget, $\epsilon$, on how much information about individual training records is leaked by the model. While the privacy budget is directly correlated to the privacy leakage, the calibration of the privacy budget is not well understood. As a result, many existing works on privacy-preserving machine learning select large values of $\epsilon$ in order to get acceptable utility of the model, with little understanding of the concrete impact of such choices on meaningful privacy. Moreover, in scenarios where iterative learning procedures are used which require privacy guarantees for each iteration, relaxed definitions of differential privacy are often used which further tradeoff privacy for better utility. In this paper, we evaluate the impacts of these choices on privacy in experiments with logistic regression and neural network models. We quantify the privacy leakage in terms of advantage of the adversary performing inference attacks and by analyzing the number of members at risk for exposure. Our main findings are that current mechanisms for differential privacy for machine learning rarely offer acceptable utility-privacy tradeoffs: settings that provide limited accuracy loss provide little effective privacy, and settings that provide strong privacy result in useless models. Open source code is available at