On the Security Risks of Knowledge Graph Reasoning

Zhaohan Xi, Tianyu Du, Changjiang Li, Ren Pang, Shouling Ji, Xiapu Luo, Xusheng Xiao, Fenglong Ma, Ting Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Knowledge graph reasoning (KGR) – answering complex logical queries over large knowledge graphs – represents an important artificial intelligence task, entailing a range of applications (e.g., cyber threat hunting). However, despite its surging popularity, the potential security risks of KGR are largely unexplored, which is concerning, given the increasing use of such capability in security-critical domains. This work represents a solid initial step towards bridging the striking gap. We systematize the security threats to KGR according to the adversary’s objectives, knowledge, and attack vectors. Further, we present ROAR, a new class of attacks that instantiate a variety of such threats. Through empirical evaluation in representative use cases (e.g., medical decision support, cyber threat hunting, and commonsense reasoning), we demonstrate that ROAR is highly effective to mislead KGR to suggest pre-defined answers for target queries, yet with negligible impact on non-target ones. Finally, we explore potential countermeasures against ROAR, including filtering of potentially poisoning knowledge and training with adversarially augmented queries, which leads to several promising research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication32nd USENIX Security Symposium, USENIX Security 2023
PublisherUSENIX Association
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781713879497
StatePublished - 2023
Event32nd USENIX Security Symposium, USENIX Security 2023 - Anaheim, United States
Duration: Aug 9 2023Aug 11 2023

Publication series

Name32nd USENIX Security Symposium, USENIX Security 2023


Conference32nd USENIX Security Symposium, USENIX Security 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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