Natural language adversarial defense through synonym encoding
Proceedings of the Thirty-Seventh Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, PMLR 161:823-833, 2021.
In the area of natural language processing, deep learning models are recently known to be vulnerable to various types of adversarial perturbations, but relatively few works are done on the defense side. Especially, there exists few effective defense method against the successful synonym substitution based attacks that preserve the syntactic structure and semantic information of the original text while fooling the deep learning models. We contribute in this direction and propose a novel adversarial defense method called Synonym Encoding Method (SEM). Specifically, SEM inserts an encoder before the input layer of the target model to map each cluster of synonyms to a unique encoding and trains the model to eliminate possible adversarial perturbations without modifying the network architecture or adding extra data. Extensive experiments demonstrate that SEM can effectively defend the current synonym substitution based attacks and block the transferability of adversarial examples. SEM is also easy and efficient to scale to large models and big datasets.