Backdoor attack and defense in federated generative adversarial network-based medical image synthesis


Xiaoxiao Li, Ruinan Jin

Date of Publication


Deep Learning-based image synthesis techniques have been applied in healthcare research for generating medical images to support open research and augment medical datasets. Training generative adversarial neural networks (GANs) usually require large amounts of training data. Federated learning (FL) provides a way of training a central model using distributed data while keeping raw data locally. However, given that the FL server cannot access the raw data, it is vulnerable to backdoor attacks, an adversarial by poisoning training data. Most backdoor attack strategies focus on classification models and centralized domains. It is still an open question if the existing backdoor attacks can affect GAN training and, if so, how to defend against the attack in the FL setting. In this work, we investigate the overlooked issue of backdoor attacks in federated GANs (FedGANs). The success of this attack is subsequently determined to be the result of some local discriminators overfitting the poisoned data and corrupting the local GAN equilibrium, which then further contaminates other clients when averaging the generator’s parameters and yields high generator loss. Therefore, we proposed FedDetect, an efficient and effective way of defending against the backdoor attack in the FL setting, which allows the server to detect the client’s adversarial behavior based on their losses and block the malicious clients. Our extensive experiments on two medical datasets with different modalities demonstrate the backdoor attack on FedGANs can result in synthetic images with low fidelity. After detecting and suppressing the detected malicious clients using the proposed defense strategy, we show that FedGANs can synthesize high-quality medical datasets (with labels) for data augmentation to improve classification models’ performance.

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First Nations land acknowledegement

We acknowledge that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

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