Shilling Black-Box Recommender Systems by Learning to Generate Fake User Profiles

Chen Lin, Si Chen, Meifang Zeng, Sheng Zhang, Min Gao, Hui Li
2022 IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems  
Due to the pivotal role of recommender systems (RS) in guiding customers toward the purchase, there is a natural motivation for unscrupulous parties to spoof RS for profits. In this article, we study shilling attacks where an adversarial party injects a number of fake user profiles for improper purposes. Conventional Shilling Attack approaches lack attack transferability (i.e., attacks are not effective on some victim RS models) and/or attack invisibility (i.e., injected profiles can be easily
more » ... etected). To overcome these issues, we present learning to generate fake user profiles (Leg-UP), a novel attack model based on the generative adversarial network. Leg-UP learns user behavior patterns from real users in the sampled "templates" and constructs fake user profiles. To simulate real users, the generator in Leg-UP directly outputs discrete ratings. To enhance attack transferability, the parameters of the generator are optimized by maximizing the attack performance on a surrogate RS model. To improve attack invisibility, Leg-UP adopts a discriminator to guide the generator to generate undetectable fake user profiles. Experiments on benchmarks have shown that Leg-UP exceeds state-of-the-art shilling attack methods on a wide range of victim RS models. The source code of our work is available at:
doi:10.1109/tnnls.2022.3183210 pmid:35749325 fatcat:2hfixbskkjgr7etrigsq4lxyfy