Protecting Intellectual Property with Reliable Availability of Learning Models in AI-based Cybersecurity Services

Ge Ren, Jun Wu, Gaolei Li, Shenghong Li, Mohsen Guizani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Artificial intelligence (AI)-based cybersecurity services offer significant promise in many scenarios, including malware detection, content supervision, and so on. Meanwhile, many commercial and government applications have raised the need for intellectual property protection of using deep neural network (DNN). Existing studies (e.g., watermarking techniques) on intellectual property protection only aim at inserting secret information into DNNs, allowing producers to detect whether the given DNN infringes on their own copyrights. However, since the availability protection of learning models is rarely considered, the piracy model can still work with high accuracy. In this paper, a novel model locking (M-LOCK) scheme for the DNN is proposed to enhance its availability protection, where the DNN produces poor accuracy if a specific token is absent, while it maps only the tokenized inputs into correct predictions. The proposed scheme performs the verification process during the DNN inference operation, actively protecting models' intellectual property copyright at each query. Specifically, to train the token-sensitive decision-making boundaries of DNNs, a data poisoning-based model manipulation (DPMM) method is also proposed, which minimizes the correlation between the dummy outputs and correct predictions. Extensive experiments demonstrate the proposed scheme could achieve high reliability and effectiveness across various benchmark datasets as well as typical model protection methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • AI-based Cybersecurity Services
  • Biological system modeling
  • Computational modeling
  • Computer security
  • Data models
  • Data Poisioning-based Model Manipulation
  • Intellectual property
  • Intellectual Property
  • Model Locking
  • Predictive models
  • Reliable Availability
  • Watermarking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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