Dissecting Distribution Inference


A distribution inference attack aims to infer statistical properties of data used to train machine learning models. These attacks are sometimes surprisingly potent, but the factors that impact distribution inference risk are not well understood and demonstrated attacks often rely on strong and unrealistic assumptions such as full knowledge of training environments even in supposedly black-box threat scenarios. To improve understanding of distribution inference risks, we develop a new black-box attack that even outperforms the best known white-box attack in most settings. Using this new attack, we evaluate distribution inference risk while relaxing a variety of assumptions about the adversary’s knowledge under black-box access, like known model architectures and label-only access. Finally, we evaluate the effectiveness of previously proposed defenses and introduce new defenses. We find that although noise-based defenses appear to be ineffective, a simple re-sampling defense can be highly effective.

In IEEE Conference on Secure and Trustworthy Machine Learning, 2023
Anshuman Suri
Anshuman Suri
PhD Student

My research interests include privacy and security in machine learning.