Paper 2018/311

DeepSigns: A Generic Watermarking Framework for Protecting the Ownership of Deep Learning Models

Bita Darvish Rouhani, Huili Chen, and farinaz Koushanfar


Deep Learning (DL) models have caused a paradigm shift in our ability to comprehend raw data in various important fields, ranging from intelligence warfare and healthcare to autonomous transportation and automated manufacturing. A practical concern, in the rush to adopt DL models as a service, is protecting the models against Intellectual Property (IP) infringement. The DL models are commonly built by allocating significant computational resources that process vast amounts of proprietary training data. The resulting models are therefore considered to be the IP of the model builder and need to be protected to preserve the owner's competitive advantage. This paper proposes DeepSigns, a novel end-to-end IP protection framework that enables insertion of coherent digital watermarks in contemporary DL models. DeepSigns, for the first time, introduces a generic watermarking methodology that can be used for protecting DL owner's IP rights in both white-box and black-box settings, where the adversary may or may not have the knowledge of the model internals. The suggested methodology is based on embedding the owner's signature (watermark) in the probability density function (pdf) of the data abstraction obtained in different layers of a DL model. DeepSigns can demonstrably withstand various removal and transformation attacks, including model compression, model fine-tuning, and watermark overwriting. Proof-of-concept evaluations on MNIST, and CIFAR10 datasets, as well as a wide variety of neural network architectures including Wide Residual Networks, Convolution Neural Networks, and Multi-Layer Perceptrons corroborate DeepSigns' effectiveness and applicability.

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Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
Contact author(s)
bita @ ucsd edu
2018-06-01: revised
2018-04-03: received
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      author = {Bita Darvish Rouhani and Huili Chen and farinaz Koushanfar},
      title = {{DeepSigns}: A Generic Watermarking Framework for Protecting the Ownership of Deep Learning Models},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2018/311},
      year = {2018},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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