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How to Reverse Engineer Software

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If you’re like most developers, then you like to think about things logically. The beauty of code is that it’s based on pure logic. Any program can be deconstructed, replicated, and put back together if you’re willing to take the time to understand the logic behind it.

What is Software Reversing?

In essence, the software reverse engineering process is quite simple. You take a piece of existing software, and you break it down into the original source code. Once you have the source code, then you can understand everything that’s going on. With this knowledge, you can engineer new code.

Why Would Somebody Want to Reverse Engineer Software?

There are multiple reasons why somebody would want to know how to reverse engineer a software. The most outstanding reason is that developers are by nature curious beings. We don’t like the idea of a piece of software that we can’t understand or that’s above us. We like to be able to break down everything that’s going on into a simple code for our own understanding.

Reversing software and looking at the code of more advanced developers is the way that most of us learn to code in the first place. It teaches us new ways of thinking, gives us bright ideas, and allows us to better understand the principles of systems architecture.

The second reason somebody might wish to reverse engineer software is for debugging. If you’ve released a piece of software that’s experiencing significant problems that don’t seem to be an easy fix, then the best thing to do is deconstruct it and go through the code line-by-line until you can find out where the issues are.

The easiest way to do this is of course to obtain the original source code, but this is often easier said than done. Maybe the code got lost, perhaps an angry developer deleted it, or you’re a competitor who’s seeking to fix the errors and release your own improved version.

Software reversing is the key to understanding. Here are some other popular reasons why people do it:

  • To research computer viruses and how they operate
  • To learn about advanced algorithms and how they work
  • To research database structures and how their network communication works
  • To check their own resistance to reverse engineering
  • To improve errors and improve compatibility with other programs and operating systems

How To Reverse Engineer Software

Reverse engineering software is like taking apart a car and trying to put it back together. You Need to know how it works in the first place, and you need the proper tools to take it apart and put it back together. For instance, if you want to increase your vehicle’s horsepower, then you are going to need to know how engines work.

After you understand the basic principles, then you can use your tools to take the engine out, take it apart, and make unique modifications so that the horsepower increases. Reverse software engineering is no different.

Theoretical Knowledge and Principles

This is the most important part. If you don’t understand the basic functionality behind a piece of software, then you have no hope of reverse engineering it. You should be able to look at a program and immediately be able to replicate certain parts of it or understand the basics of how it works.

If you are reverse engineering for a specific purpose such as reconstructing algorithms, finding a virus, or for cryptography, then you need to be well-versed in these principles.

Tools

The compiled executable file and the source code are two completely different things. To be able to understand the code and break it down to its original structure, then you’re going to need some tools.

Disassemblers

This is the most important software in your toolkit. Disassemblers will take an executable file and break it down into the original source code. Many disassemblers break the code down into what’s called UML (Unified Modeling Language). From here you will have to reconstruct the principles into the specific language that you want. It’s important to understand that they can’t always do this perfectly. However, they get about 90% of the code right. You will have to use your theoretical knowledge to fill in the blanks.

Debuggers

If you are using the software reverse engineering process to find bugs in your program, then a debugger can go a long way to help. In OllyDbg, for example, you can set the debugging software to find specific errors in the source code to prevent you from having to read everything line-by-line.

Modeling

When you’re trying to reconstruct large blocks of code, having a visual aid is incredibly helpful. In Erwin, for example, you can create visual layouts of your code and the operating process to help you better understand which code is responsible for which actions. You can do the same thing in Visio (a Microsoft product) or in ODI (Oracle Data Integrator).

The Difference Between Binary and Source Code

You need to understand that you will rarely ever have access to a software’s exact source code. When developers deploy the software, they first put the code through a compiler. The compiler takes the code (written in any language) and translates it into what’s called binary code (0’s and 1’s) that a computer can understand. When reverse engineering, you are taking this binary code and doing your best to translate it back into readable, understandable code.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can You Reverse Engineer C++ Code?

While it is possible, it is very hard to do. Most C++ programs are high-profile, and developers specifically write obfuscated code to make it hard for reverse engineering. They do this to prevent people from stealing their code and making cheap knock-offs. That being said. However, it can be done. It’s theoretically impossible to write fully obfuscated code. Developers can write their program to intuitively resist disassemblers, though. In the C++ reverse engineering process, you will have to use a lot of human intuition and knowledge about the system’s architecture to fill in the blanks.

How to Reverse Engineer Drivers

Reverse engineering USB drivers is a subject of fun for many coders. It’s not usually used for anything particularly useful, but you can do some pretty cool projects. Most USB devices that you use will utilize Windows. If you want to customize them and recode them for your own personal fun (such as programming an led keyboard or mouse to have special color patterns), you will need to change the USB to a Linux driver.

Once you’ve done that, then you can write additional Linux programs that will be able to interact with and control your USB device in whichever way you see fit.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re trying to take apart software for educational purposes, or you’re trying to replicate your own version of it, reverse software engineering can be a rewarding process. While modern tools make it a lot easier, you will still need to make use of your existing computer science knowledge.

In most software reverse engineering examples, there is no way that you can perfectly replicate the original code that was produced. You can, however, get very close. If you are willing to put in the effort, however, you will find it to be a rewarding process.

Steven Hansen is a founder of Techeries. He is a specialist in digital security solution business design and development, virtualization and cloud computing R&D projects, establishment and management of software research direction. He also loves writing about data management and cyber security.

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License Key Management Software – A Guide

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What is Software License Management?

So you’re probably wondering, “What is software license management?”

Software License Management involves the process of reducing, controlling, and documenting your total IT costs. License key management software helps control your IT costs, giving your team the organization needed to run effectively.

Types of Software Licenses

Here are the most common software licenses that are available:

  • General Public License: Covers software that comes at no charge and can be copied, modified, and used for free.
  • Database: While usually aligned to a device, database licensing demands special consideration due to the complex licensing complex and high cost that change by the vendor and might include the number of cores or servers, running against the installed databases. With databases, you have to get the correct license before using it for research or other projects.
  • Per Network: Cover all machines placed on one specific network.
  • Per-user: Restricted to one user that can use it on multiple devices (laptop or desktop) and requires the user to log in to verify their identity.
  • Per device or CPU: only required for one machine whether its a data center or user device.
  • Per Subscription: Managed via subscription by a device or user. They usually have an electric date.

Benefits of Good License Key Management Software

One key advantage is that your company will have all of its software licenses under control. On average, the average cost for unused software is about $259 per software. This sucks up your IT budget and wastes your precious resources. By monitoring and tracking your purchases, you are ensuring that every license accounted for is operating correctly.

The biggest benefit is that it’s a critical part in ensuring your software licenses are compliant with the EULA (End User License Agreement). If one device is using unlicensed software, you could face legal repercussions or some hefty fines.

Risks of Bad Software License Management

The Business Software Alliance is a company whose mission is to enforce compliance between businesses and advocate legal software. To fulfill this goal, the BSA uses court-ordered audits on organizations to ensure they are compliant. It does matter if they’re a small mom and pop shop to large government organization – the BSA will run an audit to ensure you’re operating legitimately.

When purchasing software, it’s important to remember that you down own the software. You have the right to use it under the EULA’s terms. If the BSA or any other auditor finds out that you’re not following the terms of the agreement, you’re exposing yourself to thousands or millions of dollars in legal penalties. The average fine for noncompliant licenses is $100,000 per license.

It’s recommended that you have regular internal audits to cover your bases before the BSA comes in. By managing the software licenses and uses, you’re eliminating the risk of unexpected penalties, negative audit results, and other signs of damage.

Conclusion

License key management software is necessary for startups and growing businesses. By getting a better grasp over your network’s license compliance, you have to ability to protect your company from unwanted lawsuits and fees. So get the right tool so you can upgrade your company’s overall license security.

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Network Olympus and Your Organization: A Quick Guide

Steven Sanders

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Long gone are the days of direct monitoring to employees. While this system works, it’s better to have software that helps you monitor your corporate network. With Network Olympus, it gives you the ability to monitor the uptime and performance of the network appliances and computers.

We understand that performance is a key part of maintaining a long-term business. And with this system, you can get alerted if the performance indicators go below a certain level. Thus, using remote networks is a great way to ensure that your business is running properly while preventing insider threats from harming your organization.

Fortunately, we’ll show you why companies are looking at network-olympus.com. The benefits that the software gives you will help you stay ahead of your competitors.

Mobile Team Management

Being able to access your network remotely prevents the need to stay on site constantly. If you have to work from home or your local coffee shop, remote access does this for staff living in remote cities, offices, countries, or branches to assess the network’s performance – even if the software is installed on the headquarters.

This means that if your device doesn’t work in a remote expert, network specialists can help you fix the problem without too much viewing on your end. They can see the network maps and updated metric themselves.

Access Levels

Having access to a remote network give your team better-increased security. Some network administrators don’t like the concept of remote access is through using encrypted authentication and ensuring that the user logs in with the right method.

Another feature for security issue protection is by data encryption. By doing this, it allows you to customize the user access. Most of the Mount Olympus remote monitoring tools will give you access to the admin or user level to enable maps or dashboards. By managing this access to users, you’ll have complete control over your network and protect the connection.

Also, you should get a tool that will consistently update and create patches for any security holes that occur. While these security threats are common, good security tools help notify users once the patch is launched.  This allows you to take control of the advanced security measures fully.

Constant Access

When using network-olympus, users have more access because of their remote capabilities. As long as you’re on a network due to VPN connectivity and or a point-to-point, you’ll be able to manage and utilize connected devices on the network. Regardless of your location or where they’re located.

By having more remote capabilities for your IT team, you’ll have the flexibility to handle the tasks that the modern world demands. And you’ll have peace of mind because you can see your network from a glance, whether that comes from a city, country, or a world.

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, network-olympus.com is perfect if you’re trying to manage a team of 10-50 employees. By using their software you’ll experience increased productivity, remote network management, and better employee communication. Thus, we suggest you try out Network Olympus and see how it improves the functionality of your team.

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Network Olympus: Why Use It?

Steven Sanders

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IT Staff in Different Offices Can Monitor

If your IT team is spread out through multiple locations, who are responsible for helping monitor the network performance, the remote access enables for the staff in other cities, branches, countries, or offices to check the network performance – even if the software is installed on the headquarters.

This means that if the device is down at a remote location, a network expert can help you troubleshoot the issue without getting involved. And, he doesn’t have to ask you what you’re viewing on your end – he can see updated metrics and network maps himself.

Remain Mobile Without Neglect

Having the ability to access the network remotely means that your team doesn’t have to be on the site constantly. If you have to work from the local coffee shop or home, the remote access allows you to see the device status on your mobile device or laptop.

Mobile network monitoring helps users keep their network data, so they don’t have to risk outages due to lack of access.

Access Levels Are Managed For Better Security

Some network administrators might not like the idea of remote access due to the remote security threats lying behind it. One way to keep the network secure is through encrypted authentication and by making sure each user logs in with the same method.

Another form of protection against security issues is its ability to customize your user access. Most of Network Olympus remote monitoring tools will help you give access to the user or admin level to certain dashboards or maps. Managing the access to your users will help you keep the connection fully secure.

Also, get a tool that will consistently update and give patches to any security holes that surface. Although security threats are common, having good tools to notify your users once a patch has been released. This allows you to take advantage of improved security measures as much as possible.

With The Right Connectivity, You’ll Always Find Access

Network Olympus gives users more access due to its remote capabilities. As long as you’re on the network due to a point to point or VPN connectivity, you’ll be able to utilize and manage the connected devices within the network. Regardless of where they or you are located.

By giving more remote monitoring capabilities for you and your IT team, you’ll have enough flexibility to handle what the modern work world requires. And you can gain peace of mind that no matter where you’re at, you can see the network at a glance, whether it spans from a country, world, or city.

Conclusion

Basically, Network Olympus can be used to help you utilize your network. Not only does it have multiple features to help monitor your goods, but also helps keep your team on track. Thus, try to utilize it so you can keep your IT team running efficiently.

Need to learn more about Network Olympus?

Tell us in the comments below!

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