Efficient Adversarial Attacks on Online Multi-agent Reinforcement Learning

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Guanlin Liu, Lifeng LAI


Due to the broad range of applications of multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL), understanding the effects of adversarial attacks against MARL model is essential for the safe applications of this model. Motivated by this, we investigate the impact of adversarial attacks on MARL. In the considered setup, there is an exogenous attacker who is able to modify the rewards before the agents receive them or manipulate the actions before the environment receives them. The attacker aims to guide each agent into a target policy or maximize the cumulative rewards under some specific reward function chosen by the attacker, while minimizing the amount of the manipulation on feedback and action. We first show the limitations of the action poisoning only attacks and the reward poisoning only attacks. We then introduce a mixed attack strategy with both the action poisoning and reward poisoning. We show that the mixed attack strategy can efficiently attack MARL agents even if the attacker has no prior information about the underlying environment and the agents’ algorithms.