ColorFool: Semantic Adversarial Colorization

Ali Shahin Shamsabadi, Ricardo Sanchez-Matilla, Andrea Cavallaro; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2020, pp. 1151-1160


Adversarial attacks that generate small Lp norm perturbations to mislead classifiers have limited success in black-box settings and with unseen classifiers. These attacks are also not robust to defenses that use denoising filters and to adversarial training procedures. Instead, adversarial attacks that generate unrestricted perturbations are more robust to defenses, are generally more successful in black-box settings and are more transferable to unseen classifiers. However, unrestricted perturbations may be noticeable to humans. In this paper, we propose a content-based black-box adversarial attack that generates unrestricted perturbations by exploiting image semantics to selectively modify colors within chosen ranges that are perceived as natural by humans. We show that the proposed approach, ColorFool, outperforms in terms of success rate, robustness to defense frameworks and transferability, five state-of-the-art adversarial attacks on two different tasks, scene and object classification, when attacking three state-of-the-art deep neural networks using three standard datasets. The source code is available at

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author = {Shamsabadi, Ali Shahin and Sanchez-Matilla, Ricardo and Cavallaro, Andrea},
title = {ColorFool: Semantic Adversarial Colorization},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
month = {June},
year = {2020}