Practical No-box Adversarial Attacks against DNNs

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

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Qizhang Li, Yiwen Guo, Hao Chen


The study of adversarial vulnerabilities of deep neural networks (DNNs) has progressed rapidly. Existing attacks require either internal access (to the architecture, parameters, or training set of the victim model) or external access (to query the model). However, both the access may be infeasible or expensive in many scenarios. We investigate no-box adversarial examples, where the attacker can neither access the model information or the training set nor query the model. Instead, the attacker can only gather a small number of examples from the same problem domain as that of the victim model. Such a stronger threat model greatly expands the applicability of adversarial attacks. We propose three mechanisms for training with a very small dataset (on the order of tens of examples) and find that prototypical reconstruction is the most effective. Our experiments show that adversarial examples crafted on prototypical auto-encoding models transfer well to a variety of image classification and face verification models. On a commercial celebrity recognition system held by, our approach significantly diminishes the average prediction accuracy of the system to only 15.40%, which is on par with the attack that transfers adversarial examples from a pre-trained Arcface model. Our code is publicly available at: