The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

The Center for Education and Research in
Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

ConFoc: Content-Focus Protection Against Trojan Attacks on Neural Networks

Principal Investigator: Bharat Bhargava

Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) have been applied successfully in computer vision.

However, their wide adoption in image-related applications is threatened by their

vulnerability to trojan attacks. These attacks insert some misbehavior at training using

samples with a mark or trigger, which is exploited at inference or testing time. In this

work, we analyze the composition of the features learned by DNNs at training. We

identify that they, including those related to the inserted triggers, contain both content

(semantic information) and style (texture information), which are recognized as a whole

by DNNs at testing time. We then propose a novel defensive technique against trojan

attacks in the context if image classification, in which DNNs are taught to disregard the

styles of inputs and focus on their content only to mitigate the effect of triggers during

the classification. The generic applicability of the approach is demonstrated in the

context of a traffic sign and a face recognition application. Each of them is exposed to

a different attack with a variety of triggers. Results show that the method reduces the

attack success rate significantly to values < 1>

as well as improving the initial accuracy of the models with both benign and adversarial



Students: Miguel Villarreal-Vasquez