September 28, 2021

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RoFL: Attestable Robustness for Secure Federated Learning. (arXiv:2107.03311v2 [cs.CR] UPDATED)

Federated Learning is an emerging decentralized machine learning paradigm
that allows a large number of clients to train a joint model without the need
to share their private data. Participants instead only share ephemeral updates
necessary to train the model. To ensure the confidentiality of the client
updates, Federated Learning systems employ secure aggregation; clients encrypt
their gradient updates, and only the aggregated model is revealed to the
server. Achieving this level of data protection, however, presents new
challenges to the robustness of Federated Learning, i.e., the ability to
tolerate failures and attacks. Unfortunately, in this setting, a malicious
client can now easily exert influence on the model behavior without being
detected. As Federated Learning is being deployed in practice in a range of
sensitive applications, its robustness is growing in importance. In this paper,
we take a step towards understanding and improving the robustness of secure
Federated Learning. We start this paper with a systematic study that evaluates
and analyzes existing attack vectors and discusses potential defenses and
assesses their effectiveness. We then present RoFL, a secure Federated Learning
system that improves robustness against malicious clients through input checks
on the encrypted model updates. RoFL extends Federated Learning’s secure
aggregation protocol to allow expressing a variety of properties and
constraints on model updates using zero-knowledge proofs. To enable RoFL to
scale to typical Federated Learning settings, we introduce several ML and
cryptographic optimizations specific to Federated Learning. We implement and
evaluate a prototype of RoFL and show that realistic ML models can be trained
in a reasonable time while improving robustness.