Exploiting Excessive Invariance caused by Norm-Bounded Adversarial Robustness

Jörn-Henrik Jacobsen, Jens Behrmann, Nicholas Carlini, Florian Tramèr and Nicolas Papernot

ICLR Workshop on Safe Machine Learning 2019

Subsumed by the paper Fundamental Tradeoffs between Invariance and Sensitivity to Adversarial Perturbations


Adversarial examples are malicious inputs crafted to cause a model to misclassify them. Their most common instantiation, "perturbation-based" adversarial examples introduce changes to the input that leave its true label unchanged, yet result in a different model prediction. Conversely, "invariance-based" adversarial examples insert changes to the input that leave the model’s prediction unaffected despite the underlying input’s label having changed.
In this paper, we demonstrate that robustness to perturbation-based adversarial examples is not only insufficient for general robustness, but worse, it can also increase vulnerability of the model to invariance-based adversarial examples. In addition to analytical constructions, we empirically study vision classifiers with state-of-the-art robustness to perturbation-based adversaries constrained by an Lp norm. We mount attacks that exploit excessive model invariance in directions relevant to the task, which are able to find adversarial examples within the Lp ball. In fact, we find that classifiers trained to be Lp-norm robust are more vulnerable to invariance-based adversarial examples than their undefended counterparts.
Excessive invariance is not limited to models trained to be robust to perturbation-based Lp-norm adversaries. In fact, we argue that the term adversarial example is used to capture a series of model limitations, some of which may not have been discovered yet. Accordingly, we call for a set of precise definitions that taxonomize and address each of these shortcomings in learning.

  author   =   {Jacobsen, J{\"o}rn-Henrik and Behrmann, Jens and Carlini, Nicholas and Tram{\`e}r, Florian and Papernot, Nicolas},
  title   =   {Exploiting Excessive Invariance caused by Norm-Bounded Adversarial Robustness},
  booktitle   =   {ICLR Workshop on Safe Machine Learning},
  year   =   {2019},
  howpublished   =   {arXiv preprint arXiv:1903.10484},
  url   =   {https://arxiv.org/abs/1903.10484}