Secure Aggregation in Federated Learning is not Private: Leaking User Data at Large Scale through Model Modification


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Security and privacy are important concerns in machine learning. End user devices often contain a wealth of data and this information is sensitive and should not be shared with servers or enterprises. As a result, federated learning was introduced to enable machine learning over large decentralized datasets while promising privacy by eliminating the need for data sharing. However, prior work has shown that shared gradients often contain private information and attackers can gain knowledge either through malicious modification of the architecture and parameters or by using optimization to approximate user data from the shared gradients. Despite this, most attacks have so far been limited in scale of number of clients, especially failing when client gradients are aggregated together using secure model aggregation. The attacks that still function are strongly limited in the number of clients attacked, amount of training samples they leak, or number of iterations they take to be trained. In this work, we introduce MANDRAKE, an attack that overcomes previous limitations to directly leak large amounts of client data even under secure aggregation across large numbers of clients. Furthermore, we break the anonymity of aggregation as the leaked data is identifiable and directly tied back to the clients they come from. We show that by sending clients customized convolutional parameters, the weight gradients of data points between clients will remain separate through aggregation. With an aggregation across many clients, prior work could only leak less than 1% of images. With the same number of non-zero parameters, and using only a single training iteration, MANDRAKE leaks 70-80% of data samples.
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