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Black-box Backdoor Defense via Zero-shot Image Purification

Yucheng Shi · Mengnan Du · Xuansheng Wu · Zihan Guan · Jin Sun · Ninghao Liu

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1627
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Tue 12 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST


Backdoor attacks inject poisoned samples into the training data, resulting in the misclassification of the poisoned input during a model's deployment. Defending against such attacks is challenging, especially for real-world black-box models where only query access is permitted. In this paper, we propose a novel defense framework against backdoor attacks through Zero-shot Image Purification (ZIP). Our framework can be applied to poisoned models without requiring internal information about the model or any prior knowledge of the clean/poisoned samples. Our defense framework involves two steps. First, we apply a linear transformation (e.g., blurring) on the poisoned image to destroy the backdoor pattern. Then, we use a pre-trained diffusion model to recover the missing semantic information removed by the transformation. In particular, we design a new reverse process by using the transformed image to guide the generation of high-fidelity purified images, which works in zero-shot settings. We evaluate our ZIP framework on multiple datasets with different types of attacks. Experimental results demonstrate the superiority of our ZIP framework compared to state-of-the-art backdoor defense baselines. We believe that our results will provide valuable insights for future defense methods for black-box models. Our code is available at

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