Guidance Through Surrogate: Towards a Generic Diagnostic Attack


Adversarial training is an effective approach to make deep neural networks robust against adversarial attacks. Recently, different adversarial training defenses are proposed that not only maintain a high clean accuracy but also show significant robustness against popular and well studied adversarial attacks such as PGD. High adversarial robustness can also arise if an attack fails to find adversarial gradient directions, a phenomenon known as gradient masking. In this work, we analyse the effect of label smoothing on adversarial training as one of the potential causes of gradient masking. We then develop a guided mechanism to avoid local minima during attack optimization, leading to a novel attack dubbed Guided Projected Gradient Attack (G-PGA). Our attack approach is based on a match and deceive loss that finds optimal adversarial directions through guidance from a surrogate model. Our modified attack does not require random restarts, large number of attack iterations or search for an optimal step-size. Furthermore, our proposed G-PGA is generic, thus it can be combined with an ensemble attack strategy as we demonstrate for the case of Auto-Attack, leading to efficiency and convergence speed improvements. More than an effective attack, G-PGA can be used as a diagnostic tool to reveal elusive robustness due to gradient masking in adversarial defenses.

In * Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems, TNNLS 2022*
Muzammal Naseer
Muzammal Naseer

My research interests include adversarial attacks and defenses, Attention based Modeling and Out of distribution Generalization.