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Towards Lightweight Black-Box Attack Against Deep Neural Networks
Chenghao Sun · Yonggang Zhang · Wan Chaoqun · Qizhou Wang · Ya Li · Tongliang Liu · Bo Han · Xinmei Tian


Black-box attacks can generate adversarial examples without accessing the parameters of target model, largely exacerbating the threats of deployed deep neural networks (DNNs). However, previous works state that black-box attacks fail to mislead target models when their training data and outputs are inaccessible. In this work, we argue that black-box attacks can pose practical attacks in this extremely restrictive scenario where only several test samples are available. Specifically, we find that attacking the shallow layers of DNNs trained on a few test samples can generate powerful adversarial examples. As only a few samples are required, we refer to these attacks as lightweight black-box attacks. The main challenge to promoting lightweight attacks is to mitigate the adverse impact caused by the approximation error of shallow layers. As it is hard to mitigate the approximation error with few available samples, we propose Error TransFormer (ETF) for lightweight attacks. Namely, ETF transforms the approximation error in the parameter space into a perturbation in the feature space and alleviates the error by disturbing features. In experiments, lightweight black-box attacks with the proposed ETF achieve surprising results. For example, even if only 1 sample per category available, the attack success rate in lightweight black-box attacks is only about 3% lower than that of the black-box attacks with complete training data.

Author Information

Chenghao Sun (University of Science and Technology of China)
Yonggang Zhang (Hong Kong Baptist University)
Wan Chaoqun (University of Science and Technology of China)
Qizhou Wang (Hong Kong Baptist University)
Ya Li (University of Science and Technology of China)
Tongliang Liu (The University of Sydney)
Xinmei Tian (University of Science and Technology of China)

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