Learning Black-Box Attackers with Transferable Priors and Query Feedback

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

AuthorFeedback Bibtex MetaReview Paper Review Supplemental


Jiancheng YANG, Yangzhou Jiang, Xiaoyang Huang, Bingbing Ni, Chenglong Zhao


This paper addresses the challenging black-box adversarial attack problem, where only classification confidence of a victim model is available. Inspired by consistency of visual saliency between different vision models, a surrogate model is expected to improve the attack performance via transferability. By combining transferability-based and query-based black-box attack, we propose a surprisingly simple baseline approach (named SimBA++) using the surrogate model, which significantly outperforms several state-of-the-art methods. Moreover, to efficiently utilize the query feedback, we update the surrogate model in a novel learning scheme, named High-Order Gradient Approximation (HOGA). By constructing a high-order gradient computation graph, we update the surrogate model to approximate the victim model in both forward and backward pass. The SimBA++ and HOGA result in Learnable Black-Box Attack (LeBA), which surpasses previous state of the art by considerable margins: the proposed LeBA significantly reduces queries, while keeping higher attack success rates close to 100% in extensive ImageNet experiments, including attacking vision benchmarks and defensive models. Code is open source at https://github.com/TrustworthyDL/LeBA.