Software reverse engineering (SRE) is the practice of analyzing a software system,either in whole or in part, to extract design and implementation information.Reverse engineering skills are also used to detect and neutralize viruses and malware,and to protect intellectual property.
Reverse Engineering Goals:
- Cope with Complexity.
- Recover lost information.
- Detect side effects.
- Synthesise higher abstraction.
- Facilitate Reuse.
Reverse engineering tools can help to increase the interpretation of the fundamental source code for software improvement and optimization, relevant knowledge can be collected to make a software design decision, and virtual code models can offer alternative interpretations of the source code that can help identify and patch a software error or flaw. Sometimes, as any software evolves, the design data and modifications are often lost over time.
But the missing information can typically be retrieved by reverse engineering. The method will also help to minimize the time taken to learn the source code, thereby reducing the total expense of software development.
Reverse engineering can also help identify and delete a malicious code written to a stronger code detector program. Reversing the source code can be used to discover new uses of the source code, such as finding unintended duplication of the source code.
Where it was not meant to be used or to show how a competitor’s product was constructed.
This method is widely used for “cracking” applications and media to eliminate copy protection,
Or to make a possibly-improved duplicate or even a knock-off, which is typically the target of a rival or a hacker.
Malware programmers also use reverse engineering strategies to identify bugs in their operating system to create a computer virus that can bypass system vulnerabilities. Reverse engineering is also used in cryptanalysis to find flaws in substitution cipher, symmetric key algorithm, or public key cryptography.
6 Best Software Reverse Engineering Tools.
This is a software reverse engineering (SRE) framework developed by NSA’s Research Directorate for NSA’s cybersecurity mission. It helps analyze malicious code and malware like viruses, and can give cybersecurity professionals a better understanding of potential vulnerabilities in their networks and systems.Get to know more about Ghidra
An open-source binary debugger for Windows, aimed at malware analysis and reverse engineering of executables you do not have the source code for.
There are many features available and a comprehensive plugin system to add your own. More information about x64dbg
- Intuitive and familiar, yet new user interface
- C-like expression parser
- Full-featured debugging of DLL and EXE files (TitanEngine)
- IDA-like sidebar with jump arrows
- IDA-like instruction token highlighter (highlight registers, etc.)
- Memory map
- Symbol view
- Thread view
- Source code view
- Content-sensitive register view
- Fully customizable color scheme
- Dynamically recognize modules and strings
- Import reconstructor integrated (Scylla)
- Fast disassembler (Zydis)
- User database (JSON) for comments, labels, bookmarks, etc.
- Plugin support with growing API
- Extendable, debuggable scripting language for automation
- Multi-datatype memory dump
- Basic debug symbol (PDB) support
- Dynamic stack view
- Built-in assembler (XEDParse/asmjit)
- Executable patching
- Yara Pattern Matching
- Decompiler (Snowman)
Resource Hacker is a resource editor for 32bit and 64bit Windows applications. It’s both a resource compiler (for *.rc files), and a decompiler – enabling viewing and editing of resources in executables (*.exe; *.dll; *.scr; etc) and compiled resource libraries (*.res, *.mui). While Resource Hacker is primarily a GUI application, it also provides many options for compiling and decompiling resources from the command-line. Read more here about Resource Hacker Download Resource Hacker
Amongst its feature set is its ability to view files in text, hex and disassembly mode. The program is particularly useful for editing executable files such as COFF, PE or ELF executable files.It has built-in disassembler for x86, x86-64, and ARM, assembler for x86, x86-64.
- view and edit files of any length in text, hex, and decode modes
- x86-64 disassembler & assembler (AVX instructions include)
- physical & logical drive view & edit
- support for NE, LE, LX, PE/PE32+, ELF/ELF64(little-endian), Mach-O(little-endian), TE/TE64 executable formats
- support for Netware Loadable Modules like NLM, DSK, LAN,…
- following direct call/jmp instructions in any executable file with one touch
- pattern search in disassembler
- built-in simple 64bit decrypt/crypt system
- built-in powerful 64bit calculator
- block operations: read, write, fill, copy, move, insert, delete, crypt
- multifile search and replace
- keyboard macros
- unicode/utf8 support
- Hiew Extrenal Module (HEM) support
- ArmV6 disassembler
OllyDbg is a 32-bit assembler level analysing debugger for Microsoft Windows . Emphasis on binary code analysis makes it particularly useful in cases where source is unavailable.
Special highlights are:
- Intuitive user interface, no cryptical commands
- Code analysis – traces registers, recognizes procedures, loops, API calls, switches, tables, constants and strings
- Directly loads and debugs DLLs
- Object file scanning – locates routines from object files and libraries
- Allows for user-defined labels, comments and function descriptions
- Understands debugging information in Borland® format
- Saves patches between sessions, writes them back to executable file and updates fixups
- Open architecture – many third-party plugins are available
- No installation – no trash in registry or system directories
- Debugs multithread applications
- Attaches to running programs
- Configurable disassembler, supports both MASM and IDEAL formats
- MMX, 3DNow! and SSE data types and instructions, including Athlon extensions
- Full UNICODE support
- Dynamically recognizes ASCII and UNICODE strings – also in Delphi format!
- Recognizes complex code constructs, like call to jump to procedure
- Decodes calls to more than 1900 standard API and 400 C functions
- Gives context-sensitive help on API functions from external help file
- Sets conditional, logging, memory and hardware breakpoints
- Traces program execution, logs arguments of known functions
- Shows fixups
- Dynamically traces stack frames
- Searches for imprecise commands and masked binary sequences
- Searches whole allocated memory
- Finds references to constant or address range
- Examines and modifies memory, sets breakpoints and pauses program on-the-fly
- Assembles commands into the shortest binary form
- Starts from the floppy disk
PEiD is an intuitive application that relies on its user-friendly interface to detect PE packers, cryptors and compilers found in executable files. Its detection rate is higher than that of other similar tools, since the app packs more than 600 different signatures in PE files.Read more about peid