Paper 2021/1538

SIMC: ML Inference Secure Against Malicious Clients at Semi-Honest Cost

Nishanth Chandran, Divya Gupta, Sai Lakshmi Bhavana Obbattu, and Akash Shah


Secure inference allows a model owner (or, the server) and the input owner (or, the client) to perform inference on machine learning model without revealing their private information to each other. A large body of work has shown efficient cryptographic solutions to this problem through secure 2- party computation. However, they assume that both parties are semi-honest, i.e., follow the protocol specification. Recently, Lehmkuhl et al. showed that malicious clients can extract the whole model of the server using novel model-extraction attacks. To remedy the situation, they introduced the client-malicious threat model and built a secure inference system, MUSE, that provides security guarantees, even when the client is malicious. In this work, we design and build SIMC, a new cryptographic system for secure inference in the client malicious threat model. On secure inference benchmarks considered by MUSE, SIMC has 23 − 29× lesser communication and is up to 11.4× faster than MUSE. SIMC obtains these improvements using a novel protocol for non-linear activation functions (such as ReLU) that has > 28× lesser communication and is up to 43× more performant than MUSE. In fact, SIMC's performance beats the state-of-the-art semi-honest secure inference system! Finally, similar to MUSE, we show how to push the majority of the cryptographic cost of SIMC to an input independent preprocessing phase. While the cost of the online phase of this protocol, SIMC++, is same as that of MUSE, the overall improvements of SIMC translate to similar improvements to the preprocessing phase of MUSE.

Available format(s)
Cryptographic protocols
Publication info
Published elsewhere. USENIX 2022
secure inference
Contact author(s)
oslbhavana @ gmail com
Divya Gupta @ microsoft com
nichandr @ microsoft com
akashshah08 @ ucla edu
2021-11-22: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Nishanth Chandran and Divya Gupta and Sai Lakshmi Bhavana Obbattu and Akash Shah},
      title = {SIMC: ML Inference Secure Against Malicious Clients at Semi-Honest Cost},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1538},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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