Enhancing Robustness of Machine Learning Systems via Data Transformations

Arjun Nitin Bhagoji, Daniel Cullina, Chawin Sitawarin, Prateek Mittal

We propose the use of data transformations as a defense against evasion attacks on ML classifiers. We present and investigate strategies for incorporating a variety of data transformations including dimensionality reduction via Principal Component Analysis and data `anti-whitening' to enhance the resilience of machine learning, targeting both the classification and the training phase. We empirically evaluate and demonstrate the feasibility of linear transformations of data as a defense mechanism against evasion attacks using multiple real-world datasets. Our key findings are that the defense is (i) effective against the best known evasion attacks from the literature, resulting in a two-fold increase in the resources required by a white-box adversary with knowledge of the defense for a successful attack, (ii) applicable across a range of ML classifiers, including Support Vector Machines and Deep Neural Networks, and (iii) generalizable to multiple application domains, including image classification and human activity classification.

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