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Reconstructive Neuron Pruning for Backdoor Defense
Yige Li · XIXIANG LYU · Xingjun Ma · Nodens Koren · Lingjuan Lyu · Bo Li · Yu-Gang Jiang

Tue Jul 25 02:00 PM -- 04:30 PM (PDT) @ Exhibit Hall 1 #300

Deep neural networks (DNNs) have been found to be vulnerable to backdoor attacks, raising security concerns about their deployment in mission-critical applications. While existing defense methods have demonstrated promising results, it is still not clear how to effectively remove backdoor-associated neurons in backdoored DNNs. In this paper, we propose a novel defense called Reconstructive Neuron Pruning (RNP) to expose and prune backdoor neurons via an unlearning and then recovering process. Specifically, RNP first unlearns the neurons by maximizing the model's error on a small subset of clean samples and then recovers the neurons by minimizing the model's error on the same data. In RNP, unlearning is operated at the neuron level while recovering is operated at the filter level, forming an asymmetric reconstructive learning procedure. We show that such an asymmetric process on only a few clean samples can effectively expose and prune the backdoor neurons implanted by a wide range of attacks, achieving a new state-of-the-art defense performance. Moreover, the unlearned model at the intermediate step of our RNP can be directly used to improve other backdoor defense tasks including backdoor removal, trigger recovery, backdoor label detection, and backdoor sample detection. Code is available at https://github.com/bboylyg/RNP.

Author Information

Yige Li (Xidian University)
XIXIANG LYU (Xidian University)
Xingjun Ma (Deakin University)
Nodens Koren (The University of Melbourne)
Lingjuan Lyu (Sony Research)
Bo Li (UIUC)
Bo Li

Dr. Bo Li is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. She is the recipient of the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, AI’s 10 to Watch, NSF CAREER Award, MIT Technology Review TR-35 Award, Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, C.W. Gear Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, Intel Rising Star award, Symantec Research Labs Fellowship, Rising Star Award, Research Awards from Tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Intel, IBM, and eBay, and best paper awards at several top machine learning and security conferences. Her research focuses on both theoretical and practical aspects of trustworthy machine learning, which is at the intersection of machine learning, security, privacy, and game theory. She has designed several scalable frameworks for trustworthy machine learning and privacy-preserving data publishing. Her work has been featured by major publications and media outlets such as Nature, Wired, Fortune, and New York Times.

Yu-Gang Jiang (Fudan University)

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