Role of Spatial Context in Adversarial Robustness for Object Detection

30 Sep 2019  ·  Aniruddha Saha, Akshayvarun Subramanya, Koninika Patil, Hamed Pirsiavash ·

The benefits of utilizing spatial context in fast object detection algorithms have been studied extensively. Detectors increase inference speed by doing a single forward pass per image which means they implicitly use contextual reasoning for their predictions. However, one can show that an adversary can design adversarial patches which do not overlap with any objects of interest in the scene and exploit contextual reasoning to fool standard detectors. In this paper, we examine this problem and design category specific adversarial patches which make a widely used object detector like YOLO blind to an attacker chosen object category. We also show that limiting the use of spatial context during object detector training improves robustness to such adversaries. We believe the existence of context based adversarial attacks is concerning since the adversarial patch can affect predictions without being in vicinity of any objects of interest. Hence, defending against such attacks becomes challenging and we urge the research community to give attention to this vulnerability.

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