Transferable Availability Poisoning Attacks


We consider availability data poisoning attacks, where an adversary aims to degrade the overall test accuracy of a machine learning model by crafting small perturbations to its training data. Existing poisoning strategies can achieve the attack goal but assume the victim to employ the same learning method as what the adversary uses to mount the attack. In this paper, we argue that this assumption is strong, since the victim may choose any learning algorithm to train the model as long as it can achieve some targeted performance on clean data. Empirically, we observe a large decrease in the effectiveness of prior poisoning attacks if the victim uses a different learning paradigm to train the model and show marked differences in frequency-level characteristics between perturbations generated with respect to different learners and attack methods. To enhance the attack transferability, we propose Transferable Poisoning, which generates high-frequency poisoning perturbations by alternately leveraging the gradient information with two specific algorithms selected from supervised and unsupervised contrastive learning paradigms. Through extensive experiments on benchmark image datasets, we show that our transferable poisoning attack can produce poisoned samples with significantly improved transferability, not only applicable to the two learners used to devise the attack but also for learning algorithms and even paradigms beyond.