Reverse Engineering – Reverse Engineering Tools

Reverse Engineering – Reverse Engineering Tools

What is Reverse Engineering ? 

Forward Engineering Vs Reverse Engineering .

Engineering is the profession involved in designing, manufacturing, and maintaining products, systems, and structures. The whole engineering process can be broadly classified in two groups; forward engineering and reverse engineering.

Forward engineering is the traditional process of moving from high-level abstractions and logical designs to the physical implementation of a system.

Definition Of Reverse Engineering . 

The process of duplicating an existing component, subassembly, or product, without the aid of drawings, documentation, or computer model is known as reverse engineering.

forward vs reverse engineering
Forward vs Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering can be mainly viewed as the process of analyzing a system to identify its components and their interrelationships, to create representations of it in another form or a higher level of abstraction. An important reason for application of reverse engineering is reduction of product development times. In the intensely competitive global market, manufacturers are constantly seeking new ways to shorten lead-times to market a new product. For example, injection-molding companies must drastically reduce the tool and die development times. By using reverse engineering, a three-dimensional product or model can be quickly captured in digital form, re-modeled, and exported for rapid prototyping/tooling or rapid manufacturing.

Some of the important reasons for the for reverse engineering of a product or part are;

  • The original manufacturer of a product no longer produces a product.
  • There is inadequate documentation of the original design.
  • The original manufacturer no longer exists, but a customer needs the product.
  • The original design documentation has been lost or never existed.
  • Some bad features of a product need to be designed out. For example, excessive wear might indicate where a product should be improved.
  • To strengthen the good features of a product based on long-term usage of the product.
  • To analyze the good and bad features of competitors’ product.
  • To explore new avenues to improve product performance and features.
  • To gain competitive benchmarking methods to understand competitor’s products and develop better products.
  • The original CAD model is not sufficient to support modifications or current manufacturing methods.
  • To update obsolete materials or antiquated manufacturing processes with more current, less-expensive technologies.

Reverse Engineering Process

a. Prediction

  • What is the purpose of this product?
  • How does it work?
  • What market was it designed to appeal to?
  • List some of the design objectives for the product.
  • List some of the constraints that may have influenced the design.

b. Observation

  • How do you think it works?
  • How does it meet design objectives (overall)?
  • Why is it designed the way it is?

c. Disassemble

  • How does it work?
  • How is it made?
  • How many parts?
  • How many moving parts?
  • Any surprises?

d. Analyze

Carefully examine and analyze subsystems (i.e. structural, mechanical, and electrical) and develop annotated sketches that include measurements and notes on components, system design, safety, and controls.

e. Test

  • Carefully reassemble the product.
  • Operate the device and record observations about its performance in terms of functionality (operational and ergonomic) and projected durability.

f. Documentation

  • Inferred design goals
  • Inferred constraints
  • Design (functionality, form (geometry), and materials)
  • Schematic diagrams
  • Lists (materials, components, critical components, flaws, successes, etc.)
  • Identify any refinements that might enhance the product’s usefulness.
  • Upgrades and changes

Reverse Engineering Tools

  1. Angr- A binary analysis framework focusing on both static and dynamic symbolic analysis.
  2. Apktool- A tool for reverse engineering Android apk files.
  3. BinNavi – A tool to assist vulnerability researchers who look for vulnerabilities in disassembled code.
  4. Binwalk- A tool for analyzing and extracting firmware images.
  5. Capstone – A lightweight multi-platform, multi-architecture disassembly framework.
  6. dex2jar-  Tools to work with android .dex and java .class files.
  7. dotPeek- A tool to decompile .NET assembly.
  8. Frida- A JavaScript injector to explore native applications on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.
  9. ILSpy –A tool to browse and decompile .NET assembly to intermediate language.
  10. Java Decompiler– A tool to decompile and analyze Java byte code.
  11. Miasm- A reverse engineering framework in Python.
  12. Pin- A dynamic binary instrumentation framework.
  13. QEMU-A generic and open source machine emulator and virtualizer.
  14. Radare- A portable reversing framework.
  15. Snowman- A tool to decompile native code to C/C++.

Sachin Thorat

Sachin is a B-TECH graduate in Mechanical Engineering from a reputed Engineering college. Currently, he is working in the sheet metal industry as a designer. Additionally, he has interested in Product Design, Animation, and Project design. He also likes to write articles related to the mechanical engineering field and tries to motivate other mechanical engineering students by his innovative project ideas, design, models and videos.

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