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Spectral Signatures in Backdoor Attacks
Brandon Tran · Jerry Li · Aleksander Madry

Wed Dec 05 07:45 AM -- 09:45 AM (PST) @ Room 517 AB #148

A recent line of work has uncovered a new form of data poisoning: so-called backdoor attacks. These attacks are particularly dangerous because they do not affect a network's behavior on typical, benign data. Rather, the network only deviates from its expected output when triggered by an adversary's planted perturbation.

In this paper, we identify a new property of all known backdoor attacks, which we call spectral signatures. This property allows us to utilize tools from robust statistics to thwart the attacks. We demonstrate the efficacy of these signatures in detecting and removing poisoned examples on real image sets and state of the art neural network architectures. We believe that understanding spectral signatures is a crucial first step towards a principled understanding of backdoor attacks.

Author Information

Brandon Tran (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Jerry Li (Berkeley)
Aleksander Madry (MIT)

Aleksander Madry is the NBX Associate Professor of Computer Science in the MIT EECS Department and a principal investigator in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He received his PhD from MIT in 2011 and, prior to joining the MIT faculty, he spent some time at Microsoft Research New England and on the faculty of EPFL. Aleksander's research interests span algorithms, continuous optimization, science of deep learning and understanding machine learning from a robustness perspective. His work has been recognized with a number of awards, including an NSF CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, an ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award Honorable Mention, and 2018 Presburger Award.

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