An effective adversarial attack on person re-identification in video surveillance via dispersion reduction

Yu Zheng, Yantao Lu, Senem Velipasalar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Person re-identification across a network of cameras, with disjoint views, has been studied extensively due to its importance in wide-area video surveillance. This is a challenging task due to several reasons including changes in illumination and target appearance, and variations in camera viewpoint and camera intrinsic parameters. The approaches developed to re-identify a person across different camera views need to address these challenges. More recently, neural network-based methods have been proposed to solve the person re-identification problem across different camera views, achieving state-of-the-art performance. In this paper, we present an effective and generalizable attack model that generates adversarial images of people, and results in very significant drop in the performance of the existing state-of-the-art person re-identification models. The results demonstrate the extreme vulnerability of the existing models to adversarial examples, and draw attention to the potential security risks that might arise due to this in video surveillance. Our proposed attack is developed by decreasing the dispersion of the internal feature map of a neural network to degrade the performance of several different state-of-the-art person re-identification models. We also compare our proposed attack with other state-of-the-art attack models on different person reidentification approaches, and by using four different commonly used benchmark datasets. The experimental results show that our proposed attack outperforms the state-of-art attack models on the best performing person re-identification approaches by a large margin, and results in the most drop in the mean average precision values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183891-183902
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2020


  • Adversarial attack
  • Adversarial examples
  • Person re-identification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science


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