Fooling a Complete Neural Network Verifier

The efficient and accurate characterization of the robustness of neural networks to input perturbation is an important open problem. Many approaches exist including heuristic and exact (or complete) methods. Complete methods are expensive but their mathematical formulation guarantees that they provide exact robustness metrics. However, this guarantee is valid only if we assume that the verified network applies arbitrary-precision arithmetic and the verifier is reliable. In practice, however, both the networks and the verifiers apply limited-precision floating point arithmetic. In this paper, we show that numerical roundoff errors can be exploited to craft adversarial networks, in which the actual robustness and the robustness computed by a state-of-the-art complete verifier radically differ. We also show that such adversarial networks can be used to insert a backdoor into any network in such a way that the backdoor is completely missed by the verifier. The attack is easy to detect in its naive form but, as we show, the adversarial network can be transformed to make its detection less trivial. We offer a simple defense against our particular attack based on adding a very small perturbation to the network weights. However, our conjecture is that other numerical attacks are possible, and exact verification has to take into account all the details of the computation executed by the verified networks, which makes the problem significantly harder.

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