Transferable Adversarial Robustness for Categorical Data via Universal Robust Embeddings

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Klim Kireev, Maksym Andriushchenko, Carmela Troncoso, Nicolas Flammarion


Research on adversarial robustness is primarily focused on image and text data. Yet, many scenarios in which lack of robustness can result in serious risks, such as fraud detection, medical diagnosis, or recommender systems often do not rely on images or text but instead on tabular data. Adversarial robustness in tabular data poses two serious challenges. First, tabular datasets often contain categorical features, and therefore cannot be tackled directly with existing optimization procedures. Second, in the tabular domain, algorithms that are not based on deep networks are widely used and offer great performance, but algorithms to enhance robustness are tailored to neural networks (e.g. adversarial training).In this paper, we tackle both challenges. We present a method that allows us to train adversarially robust deep networks for tabular data and to transfer this robustness to other classifiers via universal robust embeddings tailored to categorical data. These embeddings, created using a bilevel alternating minimization framework, can be transferred to boosted trees or random forests making them robust without the need for adversarial training while preserving their high accuracy on tabular data. We show that our methods outperform existing techniques within a practical threat model suitable for tabular data.