- [pdf] [arXiv]
Army of Thieves: Enhancing Black-Box Model Extraction via Ensemble Based Sample Selection
Machine Learning (ML) models become vulnerable to Model Stealing Attacks (MSA) when they are deployed as a service. In such attacks, the deployed model is queried repeatedly to build a labelled dataset. This dataset allows the attacker to train a thief model that mimics the original model. To maximize query efficiency, the attacker has to select the most informative subset of data points from the pool of available data. Existing attack strategies utilize approaches like Active Learning and Semi-Supervised learning to minimize costs. However, in the black-box setting, these approaches may select sub-optimal samples as they train only one thief model. Depending on the thief model's capacity and the data it was pretrained on, the model might even select noisy samples that harm the learning process. In this work, we explore the usage of an ensemble of deep learning models as our thief model. We call our attack Army of Thieves(AOT) as we train multiple models with varying complexities to leverage the crowd's wisdom. Based on the ensemble's collective decision, uncertain samples are selected for querying, while the most confident samples are directly included in the training data. Our approach is the first one to utilize an ensemble of thief models to perform model extraction. We outperform the base approaches of existing state-of-the-art methods by at least 3% and achieve a 21% higher adversarial sample transferability than previous work for models trained on the CIFAR-10 dataset.