BinarizedAttack: Structural Poisoning Attacks to Graph-based Anomaly Detection

Yulin Zhu, Yuni Lai, Kaifa Zhao, Xiapu Luo, Mingquan Yuan, Jian Ren, Kai Zhou

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


Graph-based Anomaly Detection (GAD) is becoming prevalent due to the powerful representation abilities of graphs as well as recent advances in graph mining techniques. These GAD tools, however, expose a new attacking surface, ironically due to their unique advantage of being able to exploit the relations among data. That is, attackers now can manipulate those relations (i.e., the structure of the graph) to allow some target nodes to evade detection. In this paper, we exploit this vulnerability by designing a new type of targeted structural poisoning attacks to a representative regression-based GAD system termed OddBall. Specially, we formulate the attack against OddBall as a bi-level optimization problem, where the key technical challenge is to efficiently solve the problem in a discrete domain. We propose a novel attack method termed BinarizedAttack based on gradient descent. Comparing to prior arts, BinarizedAttack can better use the gradient information, making it particularly suitable for solving combinatorial optimization problems. Furthermore, we investigate the attack transferability of BinarizedAttack by employing it to attack other representation-learning-based GAD systems. Our comprehensive experiments demonstrate that BinarizedAttack is very effective in enabling target nodes to evade graph-based anomaly detection tools with limited attackers' budget, and in the black-box transfer attack setting, BinarizedAttack is also tested effective and in particular, can significantly change the node embeddings learned by the GAD systems. Our research thus opens the door to studying a new type of attack against security analytic tools that rely on graph data.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProc. of the 38th IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'BinarizedAttack: Structural Poisoning Attacks to Graph-based Anomaly Detection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this