Reverse Engineering – Process Work and Tools

Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering is a systematic process of analysis and exploration to understand the inner workings of software or system. The process can vary depending on the specific goals and context of the reverse engineering process task.

With the help of Reverse Engineering, we can modify the software in our way, like can change the name of the Software, We can editing software, We can convert Trial Software to License software, and many more. It can also expose security flaws and questionable privacy practices.

The Significance of Reverse Engineering:

Reverse engineering is pivotal in several areas, offering numerous benefits and insights. Some key reasons why it is important include:

a. Understanding Legacy Systems: Reverse engineering helps decipher the functionality and logic of legacy software or systems when documentation is incomplete or unavailable. This knowledge is crucial for maintaining, updating, or migrating newer platforms.

b. Enhancing Security: Reverse engineering allows security analysts to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in software, uncovering potential attack vectors and strengthening defenses against cyber threats.

c. Competitor Analysis: Reverse engineering enables businesses to gain insights into their competitors’ products or technologies, facilitating benchmarking, innovation, and strategic decision-making.

d. Intellectual Property Protection: Reverse engineering assists in detecting copyright infringement and protecting intellectual property rights by examining unauthorized copies or imitations.

Methodologies and Tools in Reverse Engineering:

Reverse-engineering employs a variety of methodologies and tools to unravel the intricate details of software systems. Some common techniques include:

a. Disassembly: Disassembling compiled code into assembly language provides a low-level representation of the software, aiding in understanding its operations and logic.

b. Decompilation: Decompilation aims to recover high-level source code from executable binaries, enabling easier analysis and modification of the software.

c. Debugging: Debugging tools allow reverse engineers to step through code execution, inspect variables, and analyze program behavior, aiding in understanding program flow and identifying vulnerabilities.

d. Static and Dynamic Analysis: Static analysis examines the structure and behavior of software without executing it, while dynamic analysis involves running the software and observing its runtime behavior. These techniques help identify potential security flaws, malware, or hidden functionalities.

Real-World Examples:

Let’s explore a few real-world examples where reverse-engineering has played a crucial role:

a. Malware Analysis: Reverse-engineering is instrumental in understanding and neutralizing malware. Analysts dissect malicious code to determine its behavior, identify communication channels, and develop countermeasures.

b. Gaming: Reverse-engineering is frequently employed in gaming to understand file formats, develop mods, crack copy protection, and bypass licensing restrictions.

c. Hardware Interfacing: Reverse-engineering assists in understanding proprietary hardware protocols, enabling interoperability, customization, or even repurposing of devices.

d. Vulnerability Research: Reverse-engineering helps security researchers discover vulnerabilities in software and firmware, leading to patches and enhanced security measures.

How it works, the process steps and types?

Reverse engineering typically involves a systematic process of analysis and exploration to understand the inner workings of a software or system. The process can vary depending on the specific goals and context of it task.

Here are the general steps and process:

Gathering Information: The initial step involves collecting as much information as possible about the software or system being analyzed. This may include obtaining executable files, documentation, system specifications, and any available resources related to the software.

Reconnaissance and Static Analysis: This step involves conducting initial reconnaissance by examining the software’s structure, file formats, and dependencies. Static analysis techniques such as reviewing headers, metadata, and symbolic information can provide valuable insights into the software’s components and functionality.

Disassembly or Decompilation: In this step, the binary code of the software is transformed into a more readable and understandable representation. Disassembly involves converting machine code instructions into assembly language, while decompilation aims to recover higher-level source code from the binary.

Program Understanding: This step focuses on comprehensively understanding the software’s logic, algorithms, and data structures. Reverse engineers analyze the disassembled or decompiled code to identify program flow, function calls, and variable usage.

Dynamic Analysis: Dynamic analysis involves executing the software in a controlled environment while monitoring its behavior. This step helps identify runtime characteristics, system interactions, and potential vulnerabilities. Tools such as debuggers and dynamic analysis frameworks aid in this process.

Patching or Modification: Depending on the goals of the reverse-engineering project, this step involves making changes to the software. It could include fixing bugs, adding features, or bypassing security measures.

Documentation and Reporting: Reverse-engineering findings and insights are detailed to create comprehensive reports. These reports may include architecture diagrams, code snippets, vulnerabilities, and recommendations for improvement.

5 Types of Reverse Engineering:

It can be categorized into different types based on the objectives and areas of focus. Here are a few common types:

  1. Software Reverse Engineering: This type involves analyzing software applications, understanding their functionality, and uncovering potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses.
  2. Hardware Reverse Engineering: It focuses on understanding electronic devices or hardware systems’ design, components, and functionality. It often involves studying circuitry, protocols, and firmware.
  3. Network Reverse Engineering:  Involves analyzing network protocols, communication channels, and data flows to gain insights into system architecture and identify potential vulnerabilities.
  4. Data Reverse Engineering:  Focuses on understanding data structures, file formats, and encoding methods. It is commonly used to recover information from proprietary file formats or to extract data from complex systems.
  5. Malware Reverse Engineering: This specialized type of reverse engineering is aimed at analyzing and understanding malicious software, such as viruses, worms, and trojans. It involves identifying the behavior, communication patterns, and potential mitigation techniques.

It’s important to note that while reverse engineering can be a powerful tool for understanding software and systems, it must be conducted ethically and legally, respecting intellectual property rights and applicable laws and regulations.

It is a field that unveils the hidden intricacies of software and systems. Whether gaining insights into legacy code, enhancing security measures, analyzing competitors, or protecting intellectual property, and plays a crucial role in various domains.

By employing methodologies such as disassembly, decompilation, debugging, and analysis, reverse engineers can unravel the secrets hidden within the software.

Read Articles:

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Androguard: Reverse-Engineering And Malware Analysis for Android Applications..

Reverse-Engineering Process Work

In software, it is the process of resolving requirements, specifications, and product functions from code analysis. The information is generated from a database of the program. By doing Reverse engineering in a software for its design or development should be done with legal advice.

It becomes unnecessary if the information we seek is already available in the public domain, such as the Linux kernel. The purpose are:

  • Co-operation in Complexity.
  • Information recovery.
  • They are identifying side effects.
  • Higher Abstraction Synthesis.
  • Reuse Facility.

Reverse Engineering Tools 

ImHex – Hex Editor For Reverse Engineers

ImHex – A Hex Editor for Reverse Engineers And Programmers Features Featureful hex view Byte patching Patch management. The custom C-like Pattern Language developed and used by ImHex Hex editor is easy to read, understand and learn.

Read ImHex Tutorial here

GHIDRA- Free Reverse Engineering Framework By NSA

This framework includes a suite of full-featured, high-end software analysis suits that enable users to analyze compiled code on a variety of platforms including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

Capabilities include disassembly, assembly, decompilation, graphing, and scripting, along with hundreds of other features. It supports a wide variety of process instruction sets and executable formats and can be run in both user-interactive and automated modes. Users may also develop their own Ghidra plug-in components and/or scripts using Java or Python.

Download Ghidra

GDA (GJoy Dex Analyzer) – Android Reverse Engineering Suite

GDA is completely self-independent and works without Java VM and installation, so it works well in any newly installed windows system and virtual machine system without additional configuration.

  • Android Malware Static Analysis
  • File loading and decompiling
  • Variable Trace
  • XML decoder
  • Fully self-implemented decoding function can bypass the Anti-decoding technology, successfully parse XML.

Download GDA


efiXplorer is IDA plugin for UEFI firmware analysis and  automation.

Supported versions of Hex-Rays products: everytime we focus on last versions of IDA and Decompiler because trying to use most recent features from new SDK releases. That means we tested only on recent versions of Hex-Rays products and do not guarantee stable work on previous generations.

Download efiXplorer

Jadx – Dex to Java Decompiler, Android Reverse-Engineering Suite

A Command line and GUI suits to convert Java source code from Android Dex and Apk files.

Main features:

  • decompile Dalvik bytecode to java classes from APK, dex, aar and zip files
  • decode AndroidManifest.xml and other resources from resources.arsc
  • deobfuscator included

Download Jadx

Rizin – UNIX Like Reverse-Engineering Framework

Rizin is free and open-source Reverse Engineering framework, providing a complete binary analysis experience with features like Disassembler, Hexadecimal editor, Emulation, Binary inspection, Debugger, and more.

Rizin is a fork of the radare2 framework with a focus on usability, working features and code cleanliness.

Download Rizin

CrowdRE : Crowdsourced Reverse-Engineering:

The CrowdRE project aims to fill this gap. Rather than using a live distribution of changes to all clients, which has proven to fail in the past, it leverages from the architecture that is being used with success to organize source code repositories: a system that manages a history of change sets as commit messages.The CrowdRE client is now freely available as an IDA Pro plugin.

CrowdStrike maintains a central cloud for the community to share their commits amongst each other. This basic concept is sufficient for a collaborative workflow on a per-function basis for a shared binary. One exciting feature is a similarity hashing scheme that considers the basic block boundaries of a function. Each function is mapped on a similarity preserving hash of fixed size.


OLLYDBG TOOL: Version 2.01 alpha 2

You can make a own license key with the help of it, Any trial version will be a crack from this tool OLLYDBG. The most important novelty is that this version is compatible with Windows 7. I have tested it under Win7 Home Premium 32-bit.



The Hex Workshop Hex Editor is a set of hexadecimal development tools for Microsoft Windows, combining advanced binary editing with the ease and flexibility of a word processor. With Hex Workshop you can edit, cut, copy, paste, insert, and delete hex, print customizable hex dumps, and export to RTF or HTML for publishing.

Additionally you can goto, find, replace, compare, calculate checksums, add smart bookmarks, color map, and generate character distributions within a sector or file. Hex Workshop supports drag and drop and is integrated with the Windows operating system so you can quickly and easily hex edit from your most frequently used workspaces. The Data Inspector is perfect for interpreting, viewing, and editing decimal and binary values. Arithmetic, logical, ascii case, and bitwise operations can be used to help manipulation your data in place.

An Intergrated Structure Viewer allows you to view and edit data in the most intuitive and convenient way.The structure viewer supports nested structures, references to other structures, along with many atomic data types: char, byte, ubyte, word, uword, long, ulong, longlong, float, double, OLE Date/Time, DOSTIME, DOSDATE, FILETIME, and time_t.

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