A Framework for Evaluating Gradient Leakage Attacks in Federated Learning

by   Wenqi Wei, et al.

Federated learning (FL) is an emerging distributed machine learning framework for collaborative model training with a network of clients (edge devices). FL offers default client privacy by allowing clients to keep their sensitive data on local devices and to only share local training parameter updates with the federated server. However, recent studies have shown that even sharing local parameter updates from a client to the federated server may be susceptible to gradient leakage attacks and intrude the client privacy regarding its training data. In this paper, we present a principled framework for evaluating and comparing different forms of client privacy leakage attacks. We provide formal and experimental analysis to show how adversaries can reconstruct the private local training data by simply analyzing the shared parameter update from local training (e.g., local gradient or weight update vector). Our framework can measure, evaluate, and analyze the adverse effects and cost of client privacy leakage attacks under different configurations of federated learning and different settings of the attack algorithm on four benchmark datasets. Our experiments also include some preliminary mitigation strategies to highlight the importance of providing a systematic attack evaluation framework towards an in-depth understanding of the various forms of client privacy leakage threats in federated learning and developing theoretical foundations for attack mitigation.


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