Enhancing cross-task black-box transferability of adversarial examples with dispersion reduction

Yantao Lu, Yunhan Jia, Jianyu Wang, Bai Li, Weiheng Chai, Lawrence Carin, Senem Velipasalar

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Neural networks are known to be vulnerable to carefully crafted adversarial examples, and these malicious samples often transfer, i.e., they remain adversarial even against other models. Although significant effort has been devoted to the transferability across models, surprisingly little attention has been paid to cross-task transferability, which represents the real-world cybercriminal's situation, where an ensemble of different defense/detection mechanisms need to be evaded all at once. We investigate the transferability of adversarial examples across a wide range of real-world computer vision tasks, including image classification, object detection, semantic segmentation, explicit content detection, and text detection. Our proposed attack minimizes the “dispersion” of the internal feature map, overcoming the limitations of existing attacks, that require task-specific loss functions and/or probing a target model. We conduct evaluation on open-source detection and segmentation models, as well as four different computer vision tasks provided by Google Cloud Vision (GCV) APIs. We demonstrate that our approach outperforms existing attacks by degrading performance of multiple CV tasks by a large margin with only modest perturbations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9157043
Pages (from-to)937-946
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
StatePublished - 2020
Event2020 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, CVPR 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2020Jun 19 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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