Reverse-engineering Assignment help
What is reverse-engineering?
Reverse-engineering is the act of dismantling an object to see how it works. It is done primarily to analyze and gain knowledge about the way something works but often is used to duplicate or enhance the object. Many things can be reverse-engineered, including software, physical machines, military technology and even biological functions related to how genes work. The practice of reverse-engineering as applied to computer hardware and software is taken from older industries. Software reverse engineering focuses on a program’s machine code, the string of 0s and 1s that are sent to the logic processor Program language statements are used to turn machine code back into original source.
Depending on the technology, the knowledge gained during reverse-engineering can be used to repurpose obsolete objects, do a security analysis, gain a competitive advantage or simply to teach someone about how something works. No matter how the knowledge is used or what it relates to, reverse-engineering is the process of gaining that knowledge from a finished object.
What is the purpose of reverse-engineering?
The purpose of reverse-engineering is to find out how an object or system works. There are a variety of reasons to do this. Reverse-engineering can be used to learn how something works and to recreate the object or to create a similar object with added enhancements.
Often the goal of reverse-engineering software or hardware is to find a way to create a similar product more inexpensively or because the original product is no longer available. The use of reverse-engineering in technology is also used to upgrade/change or address compatibility issues and make it compatible with other hardware or software. It’s also often used to make the hardware or software work with other systems.
Apple’s Logic Pro software, which lets musicians compose, record, arrange, edit and mix music, is a good example. Logic Pro is only available for Mac devices, and it is relatively expensive. The program has several proprietary digital instruments. Not all software you have can be reverse-engineered. Please note that using unauthorized software to break the copy protection on your software could result in legal action.
How does the reverse-engineering process work?
The reverse-engineering process is specific to the object on which its being performed. However, no matter the context, there are three general steps common to all reverse-engineering efforts. They include:
Information extraction. The object being reverse-engineered is studied, information about its design is extracted and that information is examined to determine how the pieces fit together. In software reverse-engineering, this might require gathering source code and related design documents for study. It may also involve the use of tools, such as a disassembler to break apart the program into its constituent parts.
Modeling. The collected information is abstracted into a conceptual model, with each piece of the model explaining its function in the overall structure. The purpose of this step is to take information specific to the original and abstract it into a general model that can be used to guide the design of new objects or systems. In software reverse-engineering this might take the form of a data flow diagram or a structure chart.
Review. This involves reviewing the model and testing it in various scenarios to ensure it is a realistic abstraction of the original object or system. Software engineering can use a testing process that includes a model to reengineer original objects..
Reverse-engineering is usually done using a combination of tools. Often, you’ll find some form of hexadecimal dumper at work in order to print out the binary numbers of a program. Developers can use this reverse-engineered code in order to analyze how it works and possible defects in the system.
Another software reverse-engineering tool is the disassembler. It reads the binary code and displays each executable instruction as text. A debugger is used to prevent a disassembler from disassembling the data portions of a program. These tools might be used by a cybercriminal to cause damage to your computer or steal sensitive information..
Computer-aided design (CAD) is a reverse-engineering technique used to recreate a manufactured part when the original blueprint is no longer available. It involves producing 3D images of the part so it can be remanufactured. A coordinate measuring machine measures the part, and as it is measured, a 3D wire frame image is generated using CAD software and displayed on a monitor. After the measuring is complete, the wire frame image is dimensioned. Any part can be reverse-engineered using these methods.
Examples of reverse-engineering
Reverse-engineering varies depending on what it is being applied to and the purpose of reverse-engineering the technology. Common examples include:
There are several instances where reverse-engineering is used to disassemble software. A common example is to adapt a program written for use with one microprocessor to another. Other examples of AIs used for software development include reconstructing lost source code, studying how a program performs certain operations, improving performance and fixing bugs or correcting errors when the source code isn’t available.
Phoenix, a U.S. software company, created a service that seamlessly integrated with IBM’s proprietary software to provide a compatible experience. To do this, Phoenix reverse-engineered the IBM version in a way that protected them from copyright charges, by recording the steps it followed and not referencing the proprietary code.
Malware is a growing issue – especially on the Internet. An important step in protecting against more sophisticated threats is understanding how these viruses work and how they can be avoided. Reverse engineering software code can help you to learn about malware and better protect yourself from it. If you’ve been infected with a malicious piece of software on your computer, the best way to deal with it is by using reverse engineering & security software. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency says they plan on doing this to find out how their enemies are creating software or encrypting files. Tools are available for malware reverse-engineering, such as the National Security Agency’s Ghidra software, which is used to reverse-engineer the WannaCry malware..
If a processor manufacturer wants to see how a competitor’s processor works, it can buy a competitor’s processor, reverse-engineer it and then use what it learns to make its own processor. This process is illegal in many countries, and it requires a great deal of expertise and is expensive. Reverse-engineering is often used to create replacement parts when the original parts for legacy equipment are no longer available. Reverse-engineering of computer parts is also done to enhance security. In the example of Google’s Project Zero, it would open up a Pandora’s box for unintended vulnerabilities in microprocessors because it wasn’t interacting with software.
Network security assessments
Reverse engineering is a common tool used by companies doing security assessments. They divide their team into two so they can work on different angles of testing. One team simulates attacks, and the other team monitors the network and reverse-engineers the other team’s attacks. The information gained from these mock attacks is used to strengthen the corporate network.
Legal and ethical challenges with reverse-engineering
In the U.S., reverse-engineering is generally considered a legal way to learn about a product as long as the original version is obtained legally and no other contractual agreements are broken. U.S. trade laws aim to allow for reverse-engineering if it is in the interest of improving the product or creating interoperability with other products that were previously incompatible.
Rethinking a patented product is generally legal, but some patents are more difficult to rework than others. A patent owner has legal recourse against anyone who copies their product.
Reverse-engineering software for the purpose of copying or duplicating a program may constitute a copyright law violation. Some software licenses specifically prohibit reverse-engineering. Other contractual agreements can also limit the use of reverse-engineering to gain access to code, including terms of service or use notices and nondisclosure and other types of developer agreements.
Technological protection measures (TPM), such as passwords, encryption and access control devices, are often used to control access to software and other digital copyrighted content. Circumventing TPM can raise legal issues.
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