MetaPoison: Practical General-purpose Clean-label Data Poisoning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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W. Ronny Huang, Jonas Geiping, Liam Fowl, Gavin Taylor, Tom Goldstein


<p>Data poisoning---the process by which an attacker takes control of a model by making imperceptible changes to a subset of the training data---is an emerging threat in the context of neural networks. Existing attacks for data poisoning neural networks have relied on hand-crafted heuristics, because solving the poisoning problem directly via bilevel optimization is generally thought of as intractable for deep models. We propose MetaPoison, a first-order method that approximates the bilevel problem via meta-learning and crafts poisons that fool neural networks. MetaPoison is effective: it outperforms previous clean-label poisoning methods by a large margin. MetaPoison is robust: poisoned data made for one model transfer to a variety of victim models with unknown training settings and architectures. MetaPoison is general-purpose, it works not only in fine-tuning scenarios, but also for end-to-end training from scratch, which till now hasn't been feasible for clean-label attacks with deep nets. MetaPoison can achieve arbitrary adversary goals---like using poisons of one class to make a target image don the label of another arbitrarily chosen class. Finally, MetaPoison works in the real-world. We demonstrate for the first time successful data poisoning of models trained on the black-box Google Cloud AutoML API.</p>