Exploiting the Local Parabolic Landscapes of Adversarial Losses to Accelerate Black-Box Adversarial Attack

Hoang Tran, Dan Lu, Guannan Zhang ;


"Existing black-box adversarial attacks on image classifiers update the perturbation at each iteration from only a small number of queries of the loss function. Since the queries contain very limited information about the loss, black-box methods usually require much more queries than white-box methods. We propose to improve the query efficiency of black-box methods by exploiting the smoothness of the local loss landscape. However, many adversarial losses are not locally smooth with respect to pixel perturbations. To resolve this issue, our first contribution is to theoretically and experimentally justify that the adversarial losses of many standard and robust image classifiers behave like parabolas with respect to perturbations in the Fourier domain. Our second contribution is to exploit the parabolic landscape to build a quadratic approximation of the loss around the current state, and use this approximation to interpolate the loss value as well as update the perturbation without additional queries. Since the local region is already informed by the quadratic fitting, we use large perturbation steps to explore far areas. We demonstrate the efficiency of our method on MNIST, CIFAR-10 and ImageNet datasets for various standard and robust models, as well as on Google Cloud Vision. The experimental results show that exploiting the loss landscape can help significantly reduce the number of queries and increase the success rate. Our codes are available at https://github.com/HoangATran/BABIES."

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