Accepted Papers

RayS: A Ray Searching Method for Hard-label Adversarial Attack

Jinghui Chen: University of California, Los Angeles; Quanquan Gu: University of California, Los Angeles


Deep neural networks are vulnerable to adversarial attacks. Among different attack settings, the most challenging yet the most practical one is the hard-label setting where the attacker only has access to the hard-label output (prediction label) of the target model. Previous attempts are neither effective enough in terms of attack success rate nor efficient enough in terms of query complexity under the widely used $L_\infty$ norm threat model. In this paper, we present the Ray Searching attack (RayS), which greatly improves the hard-label attack effectiveness as well as efficiency. Unlike previous works, we reformulate the continuous problem of finding the closest decision boundary into a discrete problem that does not require any zeroth-order gradient estimation. In the meantime, all unnecessary searches are eliminated via a fast check step. This significantly reduces the number of queries needed for our hard-label attack. Moreover, interestingly, we found that the proposed RayS attack can also be used as a sanity check for possible “falsely robust” models. On several recently proposed defenses that claim to achieve the state-of-the-art robust accuracy, our attack method demonstrates that the current white-box/black-box attacks could still give a false sense of security and the robust accuracy drop between the most popular PGD attack and RayS attack could be as large as 28%. We believe that our proposed RayS attack could help identify falsely robust models that beat most white-box/black-box attacks.

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