What is Reverse Engineering Technique in Cybersecurity?

Reverse engineering aka back engineering is a technique for extracting design knowledge from software, equipment, airplanes, architectural structures, and other items. It is the practice of evaluating a piece of software or hardware's functionalities and information flow in order to comprehend its functioning and behavior. In cyber protection, malware is frequently reverse-engineered.

  • Reverse engineering is a technique used in older industries to improve computer hardware and software. The machine code of a program - the string of 0s and 1s transmitted to the logic processor - is the subject of software reverse engineering. To convert the machine code back to the original source code, program language statements are employed.

  • Reverse-engineering expertise may be used to repurpose old things, do a security analysis, obtain a competitive advantage, or just teach someone how something works, depending on the technology. Reverse-engineering is the process of extracting information from a completed product, regardless of how it is utilized or what it pertains to.

Reverse Engineering in Cybersecurity

Reverse engineering is used in the realm of computer security to investigate malware activities and develop solutions to combat it. Reverse engineering is when a programme is looked at from the outside in, generally by someone who was not involved in its development.

When no source code is accessible, it lets individuals who practise it to understand how a programme or system operates. Your team may utilise reverse engineering to complete a variety of cybersecurity activities, including identifying system flaws, studying malware and viruses, and assessing the difficulty of restoring essential software algorithms that can help guard against theft.

Security specialists can use reverse engineering to figure out how difficult it is to hack a piece of software. If it turns out to be a piece of cake, experts can suggest methods to make things more difficult for a potential hacker. This method is particularly valuable for security software developers that work with a variety of data formats and protocols, do extensive customer research, and verify code compatibility with third-party software.

Without a question, reverse engineering is a valuable tool to have in your cybersecurity toolbox, and the more you know about its applications, the better you'll be able to use it.

Reverse Engineering Tools

The following tools are used in Reverse Engineering −


Apktool is a reverse engineering third-party tool that can decode resources to a near-original state and reproduce them after a few tweaks. It enables step-by-step debugging of Smali code, as well as making app development easier thanks to its project-like file structure and automation of some repetitive operations such as "apk" generation.

Features of Apktool include −

  • Decoding and reconstructing resources (including resources.arsc, XMLs, and 9.png files) to a near-original state.

  • Smali debugging is a program that assists with repetitious operations.


diStorm is a decomposer library that is lightweight, easy to use, and quick. Instructions are disassembled in 16, 32, and 64-bit modes. It's also the quickest disassembler library out there. The source code is well-written, legible, portable, and platform-agnostic (supports both little and big endianity). The C library is diStorm's single source of code. As a result, it may be utilized in the kernel or embedded modules. The interface of diStorm3 is backward compatible with that of diStorm64.


Dex2jar is a small API for reading the Dalvik Executable (.dex/.odex) format. It used to work with. class files in Android and Java. The components of dex2jar are as follows −

  • The Dalvik Executable (.dex/.odex) format is read by dex-reader. It has a comparable lightweight API to ASM.

  • The dex-translator program is meant to convert files. It converts the dex instruction to dex-ir format and then to ASM format after some optimization.

  • Dex-ir, which is utilized by dex-translator, is a representation of the dex instruction used by the dex-tools utilities to interact with ".class" files.

Threat Prevention Through Reverse Engineering

Service development and product evaluation teams can fortify cloud data protection through reverse engineering because it allows them to find problems before hackers do.

By using reverse-engineering, teams can find the inefficiencies and vulnerabilities in the programs for data storage, encryption and decryption, key storage mechanisms, before any data is put at risk. From there, they can improve their solutions and implement additional layers of security.

But there is an opportunity for competition, which means the solutions will only keep improving. Cybersecurity vendors and specialists will be vying to meet the demand, and these third parties will use reverse-engineering to research proprietary data, examining the code piece by piece to build effective protection for it.

Updated on: 11-May-2023

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