Purdue University Graduate School
Learning-based Attack and Defense on Recommender Systems [Agnideven MS Thesis].pdf (3.11 MB)

Learning-based Attack and Defense on Recommender Systems

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posted on 2021-08-06, 14:20 authored by Agnideven Palanisamy SundarAgnideven Palanisamy Sundar
The internet is the home for massive volumes of valuable data constantly being created, making it difficult for users to find information relevant to them. In recent times, online users have been relying on the recommendations made by websites to narrow down the options. Online reviews have also become an increasingly important factor in the final choice of a customer. Unfortunately, attackers have found ways to manipulate both reviews and recommendations to mislead users. A Recommendation System is a special type of information filtering system adapted by online vendors to provide suggestions to their customers based on their requirements. Collaborative filtering is one of the most widely used recommendation systems; unfortunately, it is prone to shilling/profile injection attacks. Such attacks alter the recommendation process to promote or demote a particular product. On the other hand, many spammers write deceptive reviews to change the credibility of a product/service. This work aims to address these issues by treating the review manipulation and shilling attack scenarios independently. For the shilling attacks, we build an efficient Reinforcement Learning-based shilling attack method. This method reduces the uncertainty associated with the item selection process and finds the most optimal items to enhance attack reach while treating the recommender system as a black box. Such practical online attacks open new avenues for research in building more robust recommender systems. When it comes to review manipulations, we introduce a method to use a deep structure embedding approach that preserves highly nonlinear structural information and the dynamic aspects of user reviews to identify and cluster the spam users. It is worth mentioning that, in the experiment with real datasets, our method captures about 92\% of all spam reviewers using an unsupervised learning approach.




Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Computer Science

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Xukai Zou

Additional Committee Member 2

Feng Li

Additional Committee Member 3

Qin Hu