Django: Detecting Trojans in Object Detection Models via Gaussian Focus Calibration

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Guangyu Shen, Siyuan Cheng, Guanhong Tao, Kaiyuan Zhang, Yingqi Liu, Shengwei An, Shiqing Ma, Xiangyu Zhang


Object detection models are vulnerable to backdoor or trojan attacks, where an attacker can inject malicious triggers into the model, leading to altered behavior during inference. As a defense mechanism, trigger inversion leverages optimization to reverse-engineer triggers and identify compromised models. While existing trigger inversion methods assume that each instance from the support set is equally affected by the injected trigger, we observe that the poison effect can vary significantly across bounding boxes in object detection models due to its dense prediction nature, leading to an undesired optimization objective misalignment issue for existing trigger reverse-engineering methods. To address this challenge, we propose the first object detection backdoor detection framework Django (Detecting Trojans in Object Detection Models via Gaussian Focus Calibration). It leverages a dynamic Gaussian weighting scheme that prioritizes more vulnerable victim boxes and assigns appropriate coefficients to calibrate the optimization objective during trigger inversion. In addition, we combine Django with a novel label proposal pre-processing technique to enhance its efficiency. We evaluate Django on 3 object detection image datasets, 3 model architectures, and 2 types of attacks, with a total of 168 models. Our experimental results show that Django outperforms 6 state-of-the-art baselines, with up to 38% accuracy improvement and 10x reduced overhead. The code is available at