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Detection and Defense of Topological Adversarial Attacks on Graphs

Yingxue Zhang · Florence Regol · Soumyasundar Pal · Sakif Khan · Liheng Ma · Mark Coates


Keywords: [ Applications ] [ Network Analysis ]


Graph neural network (GNN) models achieve superior performance when classifying nodes in graph-structured data. Given that state-of-the-art GNNs share many similarities with their CNN cousins and that CNNs suffer adversarial vulnerabilities, there has also been interest in exploring analogous vulnerabilities in GNNs. Indeed, recent work has demonstrated that node classification performance of several graph models, including the popular graph convolution network (GCN) model, can be severely degraded through adversarial perturbations to the graph structure and the node features. In this work, we take a first step towards detecting adversarial attacks against graph models. We first propose a straightforward single node threshold test for detecting nodes subject to targeted attacks. Subsequently, we describe a kernel-based two-sample test for detecting whether a given subset of nodes within a graph has been maliciously corrupted. The efficacy of our algorithms is established via thorough experiments using commonly used node classification benchmark datasets. We also illustrate the potential practical benefit of our detection method by demonstrating its application to a real-world Bitcoin transaction network.

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