Hongcheng Gao


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Exploring the Universal Vulnerability of Prompt-based Learning Paradigm
Lei Xu | Yangyi Chen | Ganqu Cui | Hongcheng Gao | Zhiyuan Liu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Prompt-based learning paradigm bridges the gap between pre-training and fine-tuning, and works effectively under the few-shot setting. However, we find that this learning paradigm inherits the vulnerability from the pre-training stage, where model predictions can be misled by inserting certain triggers into the text. In this paper, we explore this universal vulnerability by either injecting backdoor triggers or searching for adversarial triggers on pre-trained language models using only plain text. In both scenarios, we demonstrate that our triggers can totally control or severely decrease the performance of prompt-based models fine-tuned on arbitrary downstream tasks, reflecting the universal vulnerability of the prompt-based learning paradigm. Further experiments show that adversarial triggers have good transferability among language models. We also find conventional fine-tuning models are not vulnerable to adversarial triggers constructed from pre-trained language models. We conclude by proposing a potential solution to mitigate our attack methods. Code and data are publicly available.

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Textual Backdoor Attacks Can Be More Harmful via Two Simple Tricks
Yangyi Chen | Fanchao Qi | Hongcheng Gao | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Backdoor attacks are a kind of emergent security threat in deep learning. After being injected with a backdoor, a deep neural model will behave normally on standard inputs but give adversary-specified predictions once the input contains specific backdoor triggers. In this paper, we find two simple tricks that can make existing textual backdoor attacks much more harmful. The first trick is to add an extra training task to distinguish poisoned and clean data during the training of the victim model, and the second one is to use all the clean training data rather than remove the original clean data corresponding to the poisoned data. These two tricks are universally applicable to different attack models. We conduct experiments in three tough situations including clean data fine-tuning, low-poisoning-rate, and label-consistent attacks. Experimental results show that the two tricks can significantly improve attack performance. This paper exhibits the great potential harmfulness of backdoor attacks. All the code and data can be obtained at https://github.com/thunlp/StyleAttack.

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Why Should Adversarial Perturbations be Imperceptible? Rethink the Research Paradigm in Adversarial NLP
Yangyi Chen | Hongcheng Gao | Ganqu Cui | Fanchao Qi | Longtao Huang | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Textual adversarial samples play important roles in multiple subfields of NLP research, including security, evaluation, explainability, and data augmentation. However, most work mixes all these roles, obscuring the problem definitions and research goals of the security role that aims to reveal the practical concerns of NLP models. In this paper, we rethink the research paradigm of textual adversarial samples in security scenarios. We discuss the deficiencies in previous work and propose our suggestions that the research on the Security-oriented adversarial NLP (SoadNLP) should: (1) evaluate their methods on security tasks to demonstrate the real-world concerns; (2) consider real-world attackers’ goals, instead of developing impractical methods. To this end, we first collect, process, and release a security datasets collection Advbench. Then, we reformalize the task and adjust the emphasis on different goals in SoadNLP. Next, we propose a simple method based on heuristic rules that can easily fulfill the actual adversarial goals to simulate real-world attack methods. We conduct experiments on both the attack and the defense sides on Advbench. Experimental results show that our method has higher practical value, indicating that the research paradigm in SoadNLP may start from our new benchmark. All the code and data of Advbench can be obtained at https://github.com/thunlp/Advbench.