FLTrust: Byzantine-robust Federated Learning via Trust Bootstrapping

Kavli Affiliate: Jia Liu

| First 5 Authors: Xiaoyu Cao, Minghong Fang, Jia Liu, Neil Zhenqiang Gong,

| Summary:

Byzantine-robust federated learning aims to enable a service provider to
learn an accurate global model when a bounded number of clients are malicious.
The key idea of existing Byzantine-robust federated learning methods is that
the service provider performs statistical analysis among the clients’ local
model updates and removes suspicious ones, before aggregating them to update
the global model. However, malicious clients can still corrupt the global
models in these methods via sending carefully crafted local model updates to
the service provider. The fundamental reason is that there is no root of trust
in existing federated learning methods.
In this work, we bridge the gap via proposing FLTrust, a new federated
learning method in which the service provider itself bootstraps trust. In
particular, the service provider itself collects a clean small training dataset
(called root dataset) for the learning task and the service provider maintains
a model (called server model) based on it to bootstrap trust. In each
iteration, the service provider first assigns a trust score to each local model
update from the clients, where a local model update has a lower trust score if
its direction deviates more from the direction of the server model update.
Then, the service provider normalizes the magnitudes of the local model updates
such that they lie in the same hyper-sphere as the server model update in the
vector space. Our normalization limits the impact of malicious local model
updates with large magnitudes. Finally, the service provider computes the
average of the normalized local model updates weighted by their trust scores as
a global model update, which is used to update the global model. Our extensive
evaluations on six datasets from different domains show that our FLTrust is
secure against both existing attacks and strong adaptive attacks.

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