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Paper accepted at Future Generation Computer Systems

OCT 7, 2020

A Survey on Security and Privacy of Federated Learning  

Federated learning (FL) is a new breed of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that builds upon decentralized data and training that brings learning to the edge or directly on-device. FL is a new research area often referred to as a new dawn in AI, is in its infancy, and has not yet gained much trust in the community, mainly because of its (unknown) security and privacy implications. To advance the state of the research in this area and to realize extensive utilization of the FL approach and its mass adoption, its security and privacy concerns must be first identified, evaluated, and documented. FL is preferred in use-cases where security and privacy are the key concerns and having a clear view and understanding of risk factors enable an implementer/adopter of FL to successfully build a secure environment and gives researchers a clear vision on possible research areas. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive study concerning FL's security and privacy aspects that can help bridge the gap between the current state of federated AI and a future in which mass adoption is possible. We present an illustrative description of approaches and various implementation styles with an examination of the current challenges in FL and establish a detailed review of security and privacy concerns that need to be considered in a thorough and clear context. Findings from our study suggest that overall there are fewer privacy-specific threats associated with FL compared to security threats. The most specific security threats currently are communication bottlenecks, poisoning, and backdoor attacks while inference-based attacks are the most critical to the privacy of FL. We conclude the paper with much needed future research directions to make FL adaptable in realistic scenarios.

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