The Philosopher's Stone: Trojaning Plugins of Large Language Models


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Open-source Large Language Models (LLMs) have recently gained popularity because of their comparable performance to proprietary LLMs. To efficiently fulfill domain-specialized tasks, open-source LLMs can be refined, without expensive accelerators, using low-rank adapters. However, it is still unknown whether low-rank adapters can be exploited to control LLMs. To address this gap, we demonstrate that an infected adapter can induce, on specific triggers, an LLM to output content defined by an adversary and to even maliciously use tools. To train a Trojan adapter, we propose two novel attacks, POLISHED and FUSION, that improve over prior approaches. POLISHED uses LLM-enhanced paraphrasing to polish benchmark poisoned datasets. In contrast, in the absence of a dataset, FUSION leverages an over-poisoning procedure to transform a benign adaptor. In our experiments, we first conduct two case studies to demonstrate that a compromised LLM agent can execute malware to control system (e.g., LLM-driven robot) or launch a spear-phishing attack. Then, in terms of targeted misinformation, we show that our attacks provide higher attack effectiveness than the baseline and, for the purpose of attracting downloads, preserve or improve the adapter's utility. Finally, we design and evaluate three potential defenses, yet none proved entirely effective in safeguarding against our attacks.
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