Feature Importance-Aware Transferable Adversarial Attacks

Zhibo Wang, Hengchang Guo, Zhifei Zhang, Wenxin Liu, Zhan Qin, Kui Ren; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2021, pp. 7639-7648


Transferability of adversarial examples is of central importance for attacking an unknown model, which facilitates adversarial attacks in more practical scenarios, e.g., blackbox attacks. Existing transferable attacks tend to craft adversarial examples by indiscriminately distorting features to degrade prediction accuracy in a source model without aware of intrinsic features of objects in the images. We argue that such brute-force degradation would introduce model-specific local optimum into adversarial examples, thus limiting the transferability. By contrast, we propose the Feature Importance-aware Attack (FIA), which disrupts important object-aware features that dominate model decisions consistently. More specifically, we obtain feature importance by introducing the aggregate gradient, which averages the gradients with respect to feature maps of the source model, computed on a batch of random transforms of the original clean image. The gradients will be highly correlated to objects of interest, and such correlation presents invariance across different models. Besides, the random transforms will preserve intrinsic features of objects and suppress model-specific information. Finally, the feature importance guides to search for adversarial examples towards disrupting critical features, achieving stronger transferability. Extensive experimental evaluation demonstrates the effectiveness and superior performance of the proposed FIA, i.e., improving the success rate by 9.5% against normally trained models and 12.8% against defense models as compared to the state-of-the-art transferable attacks. Code is available at: https://github.com/hcguoO0/FIA

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@InProceedings{Wang_2021_ICCV, author = {Wang, Zhibo and Guo, Hengchang and Zhang, Zhifei and Liu, Wenxin and Qin, Zhan and Ren, Kui}, title = {Feature Importance-Aware Transferable Adversarial Attacks}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)}, month = {October}, year = {2021}, pages = {7639-7648} }