The Limitations of Model Uncertainty in Adversarial Settings

Grosse, Kathrin and Pfaff, David and Smith, Michael Thomas and Backes, Michael
(2018) The Limitations of Model Uncertainty in Adversarial Settings.
ArXiv e-prints.

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Machine learning models are vulnerable to adversarial examples: minor perturbations to input samples intended to deliberately cause misclassification. Many defenses have led to an arms race-we thus study a promising, recent trend in this setting, Bayesian uncertainty measures. These measures allow a classifier to provide principled confidence and uncertainty for an input, where the latter refers to how usual the input is. We focus on Gaussian processes (GP), a classifier providing such principled uncertainty and confidence measures. Using correctly classified benign data as comparison, GP's intrinsic uncertainty and confidence deviate for misclassified benign samples and misclassified adversarial examples. We therefore introduce high-confidence-low-uncertainty adversarial examples: adversarial examples crafted maximizing GP confidence and minimizing GP uncertainty. Visual inspection shows HCLU adversarial examples are malicious, and resemble the original rather than the target class. HCLU adversarial examples also transfer to other classifiers. We focus on transferability to other algorithms providing uncertainty measures, and find that a Bayesian neural network confidently misclassifies HCLU adversarial examples. We conclude that uncertainty and confidence, even in the Bayesian sense, can be circumvented by both white-box and black-box attackers.


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