Revisiting Transferable Adversarial Image Examples: Attack Categorization, Evaluation Guidelines, and New Insights


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Transferable adversarial examples raise critical security concerns in real-world, black-box attack scenarios. However, in this work, we identify two main problems in common evaluation practices: (1) For attack transferability, lack of systematic, one-to-one attack comparison and fair hyperparameter settings. (2) For attack stealthiness, simply no comparisons. To address these problems, we establish new evaluation guidelines by (1) proposing a novel attack categorization strategy and conducting systematic and fair intra-category analyses on transferability, and (2) considering diverse imperceptibility metrics and finer-grained stealthiness characteristics from the perspective of attack traceback. To this end, we provide the first large-scale evaluation of transferable adversarial examples on ImageNet, involving 23 representative attacks against 9 representative defenses. Our evaluation leads to a number of new insights, including consensus-challenging ones: (1) Under a fair attack hyperparameter setting, one early attack method, DI, actually outperforms all the follow-up methods. (2) A state-of-the-art defense, DiffPure, actually gives a false sense of (white-box) security since it is indeed largely bypassed by our (black-box) transferable attacks. (3) Even when all attacks are bounded by the same $L_p$ norm, they lead to dramatically different stealthiness performance, which negatively correlates with their transferability performance. Overall, our work demonstrates that existing problematic evaluations have indeed caused misleading conclusions and missing points, and as a result, hindered the assessment of the actual progress in this field.
transferable adversarial image examples,categorization,attack
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