Semi-Leak: Membership Inference Attacks against Semi-Supervised Learning

Xinlei He, Hongbin Liu, Neil Zhenqiang Gong, Yang Zhang ;


"Semi-supervised learning (SSL) leverages both labeled and unlabeled data to train machine learning (ML) models. State-of-the-art SSL methods can achieve comparable performance to supervised learning by leveraging much fewer labeled data. However, most existing works focus on improving the performance of SSL. In this work, we take a different angle by studying the training data privacy of SSL. Specifically, we propose the first data augmentation-based membership inference attacks against ML models trained by SSL. Given a data sample and the black-box access to a model, the goal of membership inference attack is to determine whether the data sample belongs to the training dataset of the model. Our evaluation shows that the proposed attack can consistently outperform existing membership inference attacks and achieves the best performance against the model trained by SSL. Moreover, we uncover that the reason for membership leakage in SSL is different from the commonly believed one in supervised learning, i.e., overfitting (the gap between training and testing accuracy). We observe that the SSL model is well generalized to the testing data (with almost 0 overfitting) but memorizes the training data by giving a more confident prediction regardless of its correctness. We also explore early stopping as a countermeasure to prevent membership inference attacks against SSL. The results show that early stopping can mitigate the membership inference attack, but with the cost of model’s utility degradation."

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