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Comprehensive Privacy Analysis of Deep Learning: Passive and Active White-box Inference Attacks against Centralized and Federated Learning

By Milad Nasr, Reza Shokri and Amir Houmansadr


Deep neural networks are susceptible to various inference attacks as they remember information about their training data. We design white-box inference attacks to perform a comprehensive privacy analysis of deep learning models. We measure the privacy leakage through parameters of fully trained models as well as the parameter updates of models during training. We design inference algorithms for both centralized and federated learning, with respect to passive and active inference attackers, and assuming different adversary prior knowledge. We evaluate our novel white-box membership inference attacks against deep learning algorithms to trace their training data records. We show that a straightforward extension of the known black-box attacks to the white-box setting (through analyzing the outputs of activation functions) is ineffective. We therefore design new algorithms tailored to the white-box setting by exploiting the privacy vulnerabilities of the stochastic gradient descent algorithm, which is the algorithm used to train deep neural networks. We investigate the reasons why deep learning models may leak information about their training data. We then show that even well-generalized models are significantly susceptible to white-box membership inference attacks, by analyzing state-of-the-art pre-trained and publicly available models for the CIFAR dataset. We also show how adversarial participants, in the federated learning setting, can successfully run active membership inference attacks against other participants, even when the global model achieves high prediction accuracies.Comment: 2019 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP

Topics: Statistics - Machine Learning, Computer Science - Cryptography and Security, Computer Science - Machine Learning
Publisher: 'Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)'
Year: 2020
DOI identifier: 10.1109/SP.2019.00065
OAI identifier:

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