Towards Reasonable Budget Allocation in Untargeted Graph Structure Attacks via Gradient Debias

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Zihan Liu, Yun Luo, Lirong Wu, Zicheng Liu, Stan Z. Li


It has become cognitive inertia to employ cross-entropy loss function in classification related tasks. In the untargeted attacks on graph structure, the gradients derived from the attack objective are the attacker's basis for evaluating a perturbation scheme. Previous methods use negative cross-entropy loss as the attack objective in attacking node-level classification models. However, the suitability of the cross-entropy function for constructing the untargeted attack objective has yet been discussed in previous works. This paper argues about the previous unreasonable attack objective from the perspective of budget allocation. We demonstrate theoretically and empirically that negative cross-entropy tends to produce more significant gradients from nodes with lower confidence in the labeled classes, even if the predicted classes of these nodes have been misled. To free up these inefficient attack budgets, we propose a simple attack model for untargeted attacks on graph structure based on a novel attack objective which generates unweighted gradients on graph structures that are not affected by the node confidence. By conducting experiments in gray-box poisoning attack scenarios, we demonstrate that a reasonable budget allocation can significantly improve the effectiveness of gradient-based edge perturbations without any extra hyper-parameter.