Defending and Harnessing the Bit-Flip Based Adversarial Weight Attack

CVPR 2020

Authors: Zhezhi He, Adnan Siraj Rakin, Jingtao Li, Chaitali Chakrabarti, Deliang Fan Description: Recently, a new paradigm of the adversarial attack on the quantized neural network weights has attracted great attention, namely, the Bit-Flip based adversarial weight attack, aka. Bit-Flip Attack (BFA). BFA has shown extraordinary attacking ability, where the adversary can malfunction a quantized Deep Neural Network (DNN) as a random guess, through malicious bit-flips on a small set of vulnerable weight bits (e.g., 13 out of 93 millions bits of 8-bit quantized ResNet-18). However, there are no effective defensive methods to enhance the fault-tolerance capability of DNN against such BFA. In this work, we conduct comprehensive investigations on BFA and propose to leverage binarization-aware training and its relaxation -- piece-wise clustering as simple and effective countermeasures to BFA. The experiments show that, for BFA to achieve the identical prediction accuracy degradation (e.g., below 11\% on CIFAR-10), it requires 19.3x and 480.1x more effective malicious bit-flips on ResNet-20 and VGG-11 respectively, compared to defend-free counterparts.