Defense against Backdoor Attacks via Identifying and Purifying Bad Neurons

13 Aug 2022  ·  Mingyuan Fan, Yang Liu, Cen Chen, Ximeng Liu, Wenzhong Guo ·

The opacity of neural networks leads their vulnerability to backdoor attacks, where hidden attention of infected neurons is triggered to override normal predictions to the attacker-chosen ones. In this paper, we propose a novel backdoor defense method to mark and purify the infected neurons in the backdoored neural networks. Specifically, we first define a new metric, called benign salience. By combining the first-order gradient to retain the connections between neurons, benign salience can identify the infected neurons with higher accuracy than the commonly used metric in backdoor defense. Then, a new Adaptive Regularization (AR) mechanism is proposed to assist in purifying these identified infected neurons via fine-tuning. Due to the ability to adapt to different magnitudes of parameters, AR can provide faster and more stable convergence than the common regularization mechanism in neuron purifying. Extensive experimental results demonstrate that our method can erase the backdoor in neural networks with negligible performance degradation.

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