Defense Mechanisms Against Training-Hijacking Attacks in Split Learning

Distributed deep learning frameworks enable more efficient and privacy-aware training of deep neural networks across multiple clients. Split learning achieves this by splitting a neural network between a client and a server such that the client computes the initial set of layers, and the server computes the rest. However, this method introduces a unique attack vector for a malicious server attempting to recover the client's private inputs: the server can direct the client model towards learning any task of its choice, e.g. towards outputting easily invertible values. With a concrete example already proposed (Pasquini et al., ACM CCS '21), such \textit{training-hijacking} attacks present a significant risk for the data privacy of split learning clients. We propose two methods for a split learning client to detect if it is being targeted by a training-hijacking attack or not. We experimentally evaluate our methods' effectiveness, compare them with other potential solutions, and discuss various points related to their use. Our conclusion is that by using the method that best suits their use case, split learning clients can consistently detect training-hijacking attacks and thus keep the information gained by the attacker at a minimum.

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