Zongzhen Liu


pdf bib
Adversarial Text Generation by Search and Learning
Guoyi Li | Bingkang Shi | Zongzhen Liu | Dehan Kong | Yulei Wu | Xiaodan Zhang | Longtao Huang | Honglei Lyu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Recent research has shown that evaluating the robustness of natural language processing models using textual attack methods is significant. However, most existing text attack methods only use heuristic replacement strategies or language models to generate replacement words at the word level. The blind pursuit of high attack success rates makes it difficult to ensure the quality of the generated adversarial text. As a result, adversarial text is often difficult for humans to understand. In fact, many methods that perform well in terms of text attacks often generate adversarial text with poor quality. To address this important gap, our work treats black-box text attack as an unsupervised text generation problem and proposes a search and learning framework for Adversarial Text Generation by Search and Learning (ATGSL) and develops three adversarial attack methods (ATGSL-SA, ATGSL-BM, ATGSL-FUSION) for black box text attacks. We first apply a heuristic search attack algorithm (ATGSL-SA) and a linguistic thesaurus to generate adversarial samples with high semantic similarity. After this process, we train a conditional generative model to learn from the search results while smoothing out search noise. Moreover, we design an efficient ATGSL-BM attack algorithm based on the text generator. Furthermore, we propose a hybrid attack method (ATGSL-FUSION) that integrates the advantages of ATGSL-SA and ATGSL-BM to enhance attack effectiveness. Our proposed attack algorithms are significantly superior to the most advanced methods in terms of attack efficiency and adversarial text quality.