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Workshop: New Frontiers in Adversarial Machine Learning

Availability Attacks on Graph Neural Networks

Shyam Tailor · Miguel Tairum Cruz · Tiago Azevedo · Nic Lane · Partha Maji

Abstract: Graph neural networks (GNNs) have become a popular approach for processing non-uniformly structured data in recent years. These models implement permutation-equivariant functions: their output does not depend on the order of the graph. Although reordering the graph does not affect model output, it is widely recognised that it may reduce inference latency. Less widely noted, however, is the observation that it is also possible to reorder the input graph to \textit{increase} latency, representing a possible security (availability) vulnerability. Reordering attacks are difficult to mitigate, as finding an efficient processing order for an arbitrary graph is challenging, yet discovering an inefficient order is practically trivial in many cases: random shuffling is often sufficient. We focus on point cloud GNNs, which we find are especially susceptible to reordering attacks, and which may be deployed in real-time, safety-critical applications such as autonomous vehicles. We propose a lightweight reordering mechanism for spatial data, which can be used to mitigate reordering attacks in this special case. This mechanism is effective in defending against the slowdowns from shuffling, which we find for point cloud models can increase message propagation latency by 7.1$\times$, with 81\% increases to end-to-end latency with PosPool models at 1M points.

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