Collaborating Authors

AutoZOOM: Autoencoder-based Zeroth Order Optimization Method for Attacking Black-box Neural Networks Machine Learning

Recent studies have shown that adversarial examples in state-of-the-art image classifiers trained by deep neural networks (DNN) can be easily generated when the target model is transparent to an attacker, known as the white-box setting. However, when attacking a deployed machine learning service, one can only acquire the input-output correspondences of the target model; this is the so-called black-box attack setting. The major drawback of existing black-box attacks is the need for excessive model queries, which may give a false sense of model robustness due to inefficient query designs. To bridge this gap, we propose a generic framework for query-efficient black-box attacks. Our framework, AutoZOOM, which is short for Autoencoder-based Zeroth Order Optimization Method, has two novel building blocks towards efficient black-box attacks: (i) an adaptive random gradient estimation strategy to balance query counts and distortion, and (ii) an autoencoder that is either trained offline with unlabeled data or a bilinear resizing operation for attack acceleration. Experimental results suggest that, by applying AutoZOOM to a state-of-the-art black-box attack (ZOO), a significant reduction in model queries can be achieved without sacrificing the attack success rate and the visual quality of the resulting adversarial examples. In particular, when compared to the standard ZOO method, AutoZOOM can consistently reduce the mean query counts in finding successful adversarial examples (or reaching the same distortion level) by at least 93% on MNIST, CIFAR-10 and ImageNet datasets, leading to novel insights on adversarial robustness.

Simple Black-box Adversarial Attacks Machine Learning

We propose an intriguingly simple method for the construction of adversarial images in the black-box setting. In constrast to the white-box scenario, constructing black-box adversarial images has the additional constraint on query budget, and efficient attacks remain an open problem to date. With only the mild assumption of continuous-valued confidence scores, our highly query-efficient algorithm utilizes the following simple iterative principle: we randomly sample a vector from a predefined orthonormal basis and either add or subtract it to the target image. Despite its simplicity, the proposed method can be used for both untargeted and targeted attacks -- resulting in previously unprecedented query efficiency in both settings. We demonstrate the efficacy and efficiency of our algorithm on several real world settings including the Google Cloud Vision API. We argue that our proposed algorithm should serve as a strong baseline for future black-box attacks, in particular because it is extremely fast and its implementation requires less than 20 lines of PyTorch code.

Learning Black-Box Attackers with Transferable Priors and Query Feedback Artificial Intelligence

This paper addresses the challenging black-box adversarial attack problem, where only classification confidence of a victim model is available. Inspired by consistency of visual saliency between different vision models, a surrogate model is expected to improve the attack performance via transferability. By combining transferability-based and query-based black-box attack, we propose a surprisingly simple baseline approach (named SimBA++) using the surrogate model, which significantly outperforms several state-of-the-art methods. Moreover, to efficiently utilize the query feedback, we update the surrogate model in a novel learning scheme, named High-Order Gradient Approximation (HOGA). By constructing a high-order gradient computation graph, we update the surrogate model to approximate the victim model in both forward and backward pass. The SimBA++ and HOGA result in Learnable Black-Box Attack (LeBA), which surpasses previous state of the art by considerable margins: the proposed LeBA significantly reduces queries, while keeping higher attack success rates close to 100% in extensive ImageNet experiments, including attacking vision benchmarks and defensive models. Code is open source at

SurFree: a fast surrogate-free black-box attack Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning classifiers are critically prone to evasion attacks. Adversarial examples are slightly modified inputs that are then misclassified, while remaining perceptively close to their originals. Last couple of years have witnessed a striking decrease in the amount of queries a black box attack submits to the target classifier, in order to forge adversarials. This particularly concerns the black-box score-based setup, where the attacker has access to top predicted probabilites: the amount of queries went from to millions of to less than a thousand. This paper presents SurFree, a geometrical approach that achieves a similar drastic reduction in the amount of queries in the hardest setup: black box decision-based attacks (only the top-1 label is available). We first highlight that the most recent attacks in that setup, HSJA, QEBA and GeoDA all perform costly gradient surrogate estimations. SurFree proposes to bypass these, by instead focusing on careful trials along diverse directions, guided by precise indications of geometrical properties of the classifier decision boundaries. We motivate this geometric approach before performing a head-to-head comparison with previous attacks with the amount of queries as a first class citizen. We exhibit a faster distortion decay under low query amounts (few hundreds to a thousand), while remaining competitive at higher query budgets.

QEBA: Query-Efficient Boundary-Based Blackbox Attack Machine Learning

Machine learning (ML), especially deep neural networks (DNNs) have been widely used in various applications, including several safety-critical ones (e.g. autonomous driving). As a result, recent research about adversarial examples has raised great concerns. Such adversarial attacks can be achieved by adding a small magnitude of perturbation to the input to mislead model prediction. While several whitebox attacks have demonstrated their effectiveness, which assume that the attackers have full access to the machine learning models; blackbox attacks are more realistic in practice. In this paper, we propose a Query-Efficient Boundary-based blackbox Attack (QEBA) based only on model's final prediction labels. We theoretically show why previous boundary-based attack with gradient estimation on the whole gradient space is not efficient in terms of query numbers, and provide optimality analysis for our dimension reduction-based gradient estimation. On the other hand, we conducted extensive experiments on ImageNet and CelebA datasets to evaluate QEBA. We show that compared with the state-of-the-art blackbox attacks, QEBA is able to use a smaller number of queries to achieve a lower magnitude of perturbation with 100% attack success rate. We also show case studies of attacks on real-world APIs including MEGVII Face++ and Microsoft Azure.