Adversarial Robustness of Flow-Based Generative Models


Phillip Pope, Yogesh Balaji, Soheil Feizi ;
Proceedings of the Twenty Third International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 108:3795-3805, 2020.


Flow-based generative models leverage invertible generator functions to fit a distribution to the training data using maximum likelihood. Despite their use in several application domains, robustness of these models to adversarial attacks has hardly been explored. In this paper, we study adversarial robustness of flow-based generative models both theoretically (for some simple models) and empirically (for more complex ones). First, we consider a linear flow-based generative model and compute optimal sample-specific and universal adversarial perturbations that maximally decrease the likelihood scores. Using this result, we study the robustness of the well-known adversarial training procedure, where we characterize the fundamental trade-off between model robustness and accuracy. Next, we empirically study the robustness of two prominent deep, non-linear, flow-based generative models, namely GLOW and RealNVP. We design two types of adversarial attacks; one that minimizes the likelihood scores of in-distribution samples, while the other that maximizes the likelihood scores of out-of-distribution ones. We find that GLOW and RealNVP are extremely sensitive to both types of attacks. Finally, using a hybrid adversarial training procedure, we significantly boost the robustness of these generative models.

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