Stealthy and Efficient Adversarial Attacks against Deep Reinforcement Learning


  • Jianwen Sun Nanyang Technological University
  • Tianwei Zhang Nanyang Technological University
  • Xiaofei Xie Nanyang Technological University
  • Lei Ma Kyushu University
  • Yan Zheng Nanyang Technological University
  • Kangjie Chen Nanyang Technological University
  • Yang Liu Nanyang Technological University



Adversarial attacks against conventional Deep Learning (DL) systems and algorithms have been widely studied, and various defenses were proposed. However, the possibility and feasibility of such attacks against Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) are less explored. As DRL has achieved great success in various complex tasks, designing effective adversarial attacks is an indispensable prerequisite towards building robust DRL algorithms. In this paper, we introduce two novel adversarial attack techniques to stealthily and efficiently attack the DRL agents. These two techniques enable an adversary to inject adversarial samples in a minimal set of critical moments while causing the most severe damage to the agent. The first technique is the critical point attack: the adversary builds a model to predict the future environmental states and agent's actions, assesses the damage of each possible attack strategy, and selects the optimal one. The second technique is the antagonist attack: the adversary automatically learns a domain-agnostic model to discover the critical moments of attacking the agent in an episode. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our techniques. Specifically, to successfully attack the DRL agent, our critical point technique only requires 1 (TORCS) or 2 (Atari Pong and Breakout) steps, and the antagonist technique needs fewer than 5 steps (4 Mujoco tasks), which are significant improvements over state-of-the-art methods.




How to Cite

Sun, J., Zhang, T., Xie, X., Ma, L., Zheng, Y., Chen, K., & Liu, Y. (2020). Stealthy and Efficient Adversarial Attacks against Deep Reinforcement Learning. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 34(04), 5883-5891.



AAAI Technical Track: Machine Learning