Knockoff Nets: Stealing Functionality of Black-Box Models

Tribhuvanesh Orekondy, Bernt Schiele, Mario Fritz; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2019, pp. 4954-4963


Machine Learning (ML) models are increasingly deployed in the wild to perform a wide range of tasks. In this work, we ask to what extent can an adversary steal functionality of such "victim" models based solely on blackbox interactions: image in, predictions out. In contrast to prior work, we study complex victim blackbox models, and an adversary lacking knowledge of train/test data used by the model, its internals, and semantics over model outputs. We formulate model functionality stealing as a two-step approach: (i) querying a set of input images to the blackbox model to obtain predictions; and (ii) training a "knockoff" with queried image-prediction pairs. We make multiple remarkable observations: (a) querying random images from a different distribution than that of the blackbox training data results in a well-performing knockoff; (b) this is possible even when the knockoff is represented using a different architecture; and (c) our reinforcement learning approach additionally improves query sample efficiency in certain settings and provides performance gains. We validate model functionality stealing on a range of datasets and tasks, as well as show that a reasonable knockoff of an image analysis API could be created for as little as 30.

Related Material

[pdf] [supp]
author = {Orekondy, Tribhuvanesh and Schiele, Bernt and Fritz, Mario},
title = {Knockoff Nets: Stealing Functionality of Black-Box Models},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
month = {June},
year = {2019}