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Graph Contrastive Backdoor Attacks

Hangfan Zhang · Jinghui Chen · Lu Lin · Jinyuan Jia · Dinghao Wu

Exhibit Hall 1 #631
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Graph Contrastive Learning (GCL) has attracted considerable interest due to its impressive node representation learning capability. Despite the wide application of GCL techniques, little attention has been paid to the security of GCL. In this paper, we systematically study the vulnerability of GCL in the presence of malicious backdoor adversaries. In particular, we propose GCBA, the first backdoor attack for graph contrastive learning. GCBA incorporates three attacks: poisoning, crafting, and natural backdoor, each targeting one stage of the GCL pipeline. We formulate our attacks as optimization problems and solve them with a novel discrete optimization technique to overcome the discrete nature of graph-structured data. By extensively evaluating GCBA on multiple datasets and GCL methods, we show that our attack can achieve high attack success rates while preserving stealthiness. We further consider potential countermeasures to our attack and conclude that existing defenses are insufficient to mitigate GCBA. We show that as a complex paradigm involving data and model republishing, GCL is vulnerable to backdoor attacks, and specifically designed defenses are needed to mitigate the backdoor attacks on GCL.

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