Attacking convolutional neural network using differential evolution

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26 Citations (Scopus)


The output of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) has been shown to be discontinuous which can make the CNN image classifier vulnerable to small well-tuned artificial perturbation. That is, images modified by conducting such alteration (i.e., adversarial perturbation) that make little difference to the human eyes can completely change the CNN classification results. In this paper, we propose a practical attack using differential evolution (DE) for generating effective adversarial perturbations. We comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of different types of DEs for conducting the attack on different network structures. The proposed method only modifies five pixels (i.e., few-pixel attack), and it is a black-box attack which only requires the miracle feedback of the target CNN systems. The results show that under strict constraints which simultaneously control the number of pixels changed and overall perturbation strength, attacking can achieve 72.29%, 72.30%, and 61.28% non-targeted attack success rates, with 88.68%, 83.63%, and 73.07% confidence on average, on three common types of CNNs. The attack only requires modifying five pixels with 20.44, 14.28, and 22.98 pixel value distortion. Thus, we show that current deep neural networks are also vulnerable to such simpler black-box attacks even under very limited attack conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalIPSJ Transactions on Computer Vision and Applications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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