Effective and Efficient Vote Attack on Capsule Networks

Jindong Gu · Baoyuan Wu · Volker Tresp

Keywords: [ Adversarial Example Detection ] [ Adversarial Attacks ] [ Capsule Networks ]


Standard Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) can be easily fooled by images with small quasi-imperceptible artificial perturbations. As alternatives to CNNs, the recently proposed Capsule Networks (CapsNets) are shown to be more robust to white-box attack than CNNs under popular attack protocols. Besides, the class-conditional reconstruction part of CapsNets is also used to detect adversarial examples. In this work, we investigate the adversarial robustness of CapsNets, especially how the inner workings of CapsNets change when the output capsules are attacked. The first observation is that adversarial examples misled CapsNets by manipulating the votes from primary capsules. Another observation is the high computational cost, when we directly apply multi-step attack methods designed for CNNs to attack CapsNets, due to the computationally expensive routing mechanism. Motivated by these two observations, we propose a novel vote attack where we attack votes of CapsNets directly. Our vote attack is not only effective, but also efficient by circumventing the routing process. Furthermore, we integrate our vote attack into the detection-aware attack paradigm, which can successfully bypass the class-conditional reconstruction based detection method. Extensive experiments demonstrate the superior attack performance of our vote attack on CapsNets.

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