from the fighting-back dept.
Machines' ability to learn by processing data gleaned from sensors underlies automated vehicles, medical devices and a host of other emerging technologies. But that learning ability leaves systems vulnerable to hackers in unexpected ways, researchers at Princeton University have found.
In a series of recent papers, a research team has explored how adversarial tactics applied to artificial intelligence (AI) could, for instance, trick a traffic-efficiency system into causing gridlock or manipulate a health-related AI application to reveal patients' private medical history. As an example of one such attack, the team altered a driving robot's perception of a road sign from a speed limit to a "Stop" sign, which could cause the vehicle to dangerously slam the brakes at highway speeds; in other examples, they altered Stop signs to be perceived as a variety of other traffic instructions.
This demonstration from the cybersecurity firm McAfee is the latest indication that adversarial machine learning can potentially wreck autonomous driving systems, presenting a security challenge to those hoping to commercialize the technology.
Mobileye EyeQ3 camera systems read speed limit signs and feed that information into autonomous driving features like Tesla's automatic cruise control, said Steve Povolny and Shivangee Trivedi from McAfee's Advanced Threat Research team.
The researchers stuck a tiny and nearly imperceptible sticker on a speed limit sign. The camera read the sign as 85 instead of 35, and in testing, both the 2016 Tesla Model X and that year's Model S sped up 50 miles per hour.
This is the latest in an increasing mountain of research showing how machine-learning systems can be attacked and fooled in life-threatening situations.
[...] Tesla has since moved to proprietary cameras on newer models, and Mobileye EyeQ3 has released several new versions of its cameras that in preliminary testing were not susceptible to this exact attack.
There are still a sizable number of Tesla cars operating with the vulnerable hardware, Povolny said. He pointed out that Teslas with the first version of hardware cannot be upgraded to newer hardware.
"What we're trying to do is we're really trying to raise awareness for both consumers and vendors of the types of flaws that are possible," Povolny said "We are not trying to spread fear and say that if you drive this car, it will accelerate into through a barrier, or to sensationalize it."
So, it seems this is not so much that a particular adversarial attack was successful (and fixed), but that it was but one instance of a potentially huge set. Obligatory xkcd.