Membership Inference Attacks on Deep Regression Models for Neuroimaging

Ensuring the privacy of research participants is vital, even more so in healthcare environments. Deep learning approaches to neuroimaging require large datasets, and this often necessitates sharing data between multiple sites, which is antithetical to the privacy objectives. Federated learning is a commonly proposed solution to this problem. It circumvents the need for data sharing by sharing parameters during the training process. However, we demonstrate that allowing access to parameters may leak private information even if data is never directly shared. In particular, we show that it is possible to infer if a sample was used to train the model given only access to the model prediction (black-box) or access to the model itself (white-box) and some leaked samples from the training data distribution. Such attacks are commonly referred to as Membership Inference attacks. We show realistic Membership Inference attacks on deep learning models trained for 3D neuroimaging tasks in a centralized as well as decentralized setup. We demonstrate feasible attacks on brain age prediction models (deep learning models that predict a person's age from their brain MRI scan). We correctly identified whether an MRI scan was used in model training with a 60% to over 80% success rate depending on model complexity and security assumptions.

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