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Protecting DNNs from Theft using an Ensemble of Diverse Models

Sanjay Kariyappa · Atul Prakash · Moinuddin K Qureshi

Keywords: [ Model stealing ] [ machine learning security ]

Abstract: Several recent works have demonstrated highly effective model stealing (MS) attacks on Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) in black-box settings, even when the training data is unavailable. These attacks typically use some form of Out of Distribution (OOD) data to query the target model and use the predictions obtained to train a clone model. Such a clone model learns to approximate the decision boundary of the target model, achieving high accuracy on in-distribution examples. We propose Ensemble of Diverse Models (EDM) to defend against such MS attacks. EDM is made up of models that are trained to produce dissimilar predictions for OOD inputs. By using a different member of the ensemble to service different queries, our defense produces predictions that are highly discontinuous in the input space for the adversary's OOD queries. Such discontinuities cause the clone model trained on these predictions to have poor generalization on in-distribution examples. Our evaluations on several image classification tasks demonstrate that EDM defense can severely degrade the accuracy of clone models (up to $39.7\%$). Our defense has minimal impact on the target accuracy, negligible computational costs during inference, and is compatible with existing defenses for MS attacks.

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