Class-Disentanglement and Applications in Adversarial Detection and Defense

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Kaiwen Yang, Tianyi Zhou, Yonggang Zhang, Xinmei Tian, Dacheng Tao


What is the minimum necessary information required by a neural net $D(\cdot)$ from an image $x$ to accurately predict its class? Extracting such information in the input space from $x$ can allocate the areas $D(\cdot)$ mainly attending to and shed novel insights to the detection and defense of adversarial attacks. In this paper, we propose ''class-disentanglement'' that trains a variational autoencoder $G(\cdot)$ to extract this class-dependent information as $x - G(x)$ via a trade-off between reconstructing $x$ by $G(x)$ and classifying $x$ by $D(x-G(x))$, where the former competes with the latter in decomposing $x$ so the latter retains only necessary information for classification in $x-G(x)$. We apply it to both clean images and their adversarial images and discover that the perturbations generated by adversarial attacks mainly lie in the class-dependent part $x-G(x)$. The decomposition results also provide novel interpretations to classification and attack models. Inspired by these observations, we propose to conduct adversarial detection and adversarial defense respectively on $x - G(x)$ and $G(x)$, which consistently outperform the results on the original $x$. In experiments, this simple approach substantially improves the detection and defense against different types of adversarial attacks.