Mudjacking: Patching Backdoor Vulnerabilities in Foundation Models


Hongbin Liu, Michael K. Reiter, and Neil Zhenqiang Gong, Duke University


Foundation model has become the backbone of the AI ecosystem. In particular, a foundation model can be used as a general-purpose feature extractor to build various downstream classifiers. However, foundation models are vulnerable to backdoor attacks and a backdoored foundation model is a single-point-of-failure of the AI ecosystem, e.g., multiple downstream classifiers inherit the backdoor vulnerabilities simultaneously. In this work, we propose Mudjacking, the first method to patch foundation models to remove backdoors. Specifically, given a misclassified trigger-embedded input detected after a backdoored foundation model is deployed, Mudjacking adjusts the parameters of the foundation model to remove the backdoor. We formulate patching a foundation model as an optimization problem and propose a gradient descent based method to solve it. We evaluate Mudjacking on both vision and language foundation models, eleven benchmark datasets, five existing backdoor attacks, and thirteen adaptive backdoor attacks. Our results show that Mudjacking can remove backdoor from a foundation model while maintaining its utility.

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