In the era of a data-driven society with the ubiquity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices storing large amounts of data localized at different places, distributed learning has gained a lot of traction, however, assuming independent and identically distributed data (iid) across the devices. While relaxing this assumption that anyway does not hold in reality due to the heterogeneous nature of devices, federated learning (FL) has emerged as a privacy-preserving solution to train a collaborative model over non-iid data distributed across a massive number of devices. However, the appearance of malicious devices (attackers), who intend to corrupt the FL model, is inevitable due to unrestricted participation. In this work, we aim to identify such attackers and mitigate their impact on the model, essentially under a setting of bidirectional label flipping attacks with collusion. We propose two graph theoretic algorithms, based on Minimum Spanning Tree and k-Densest graph, by leveraging correlations between local models. Our FL model can nullify the influence of attackers even when they are up to 70% of all the clients whereas prior works could not afford more than 50% of clients as attackers. The effectiveness of our algorithms is ascertained through experiments on two benchmark datasets, namely MNIST and Fashion-MNIST, with overwhelming attackers. We establish the superiority of our algorithms over the existing ones using accuracy, attack success rate, and early detection round.


Computer Science

Keywords and Phrases

Attackers; federated learning; label flipping

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





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Publication Date

01 Jan 2022