Static and Sequential Malicious Attacks in the Context of Selective Forgetting

Chenxu Zhao · Wei Qian · Rex Ying · Mengdi Huai

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1617
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Thu 14 Dec 3 p.m. PST — 5 p.m. PST


With the growing demand for the right to be forgotten, there is an increasing need for machine learning models to forget sensitive data and its impact. To address this, the paradigm of selective forgetting (a.k.a machine unlearning) has been extensively studied, which aims to remove the impact of requested data from a well-trained model without retraining from scratch. Despite its significant success, limited attention has been given to the security vulnerabilities of the unlearning system concerning malicious data update requests. Motivated by this, in this paper, we explore the possibility and feasibility of malicious data update requests during the unlearning process. Specifically, we first propose a new class of malicious selective forgetting attacks, which involves a static scenario where all the malicious data update requests are provided by the adversary at once. Additionally, considering the sequential setting where the data update requests arrive sequentially, we also design a novel framework for sequential forgetting attacks, which is formulated as a stochastic optimal control problem. We also propose novel optimization algorithms that can find the effective malicious data update requests. We perform theoretical analyses for the proposed selective forgetting attacks, and extensive experimental results validate the effectiveness of our proposed selective forgetting attacks. The source code is available in the supplementary material.

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