May 7, 2021

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BACKDOORL: Backdoor Attack against Competitive Reinforcement Learning. (arXiv:2105.00579v1 [cs.CR])

Recent research has confirmed the feasibility of backdoor attacks in deep
reinforcement learning (RL) systems. However, the existing attacks require the
ability to arbitrarily modify an agent’s observation, constraining the
application scope to simple RL systems such as Atari games. In this paper, we
migrate backdoor attacks to more complex RL systems involving multiple agents
and explore the possibility of triggering the backdoor without directly
manipulating the agent’s observation. As a proof of concept, we demonstrate
that an adversary agent can trigger the backdoor of the victim agent with its
own action in two-player competitive RL systems. We prototype and evaluate
BACKDOORL in four competitive environments. The results show that when the
backdoor is activated, the winning rate of the victim drops by 17% to 37%
compared to when not activated.