Binary code analysis
Binary code analysis definition
Binary code analysis is the process of examining the final version of a program. It is done to the “binary code“ — the executable version of the software rather than the original source code. It’s like looking at a finished dish and trying to figure out the ingredients and the recipe. Binary code analysis uses techniques like disassembling (converting binary code into a low-level assembly language) or decompiling (trying to recreate a higher-level language). It also uses both static and dynamic code analysis (analyzing the code without running it and while it is running.)
See also: binary format
Binary code analysis use cases
- Security: the most common reason. The goal is to identify vulnerabilities in the software that could be exploited by hackers. This includes searching for backdoors, insecure dependencies, or instances of buffer overflow.
- Malware analysis: involves investigating binary code to understand the behavior of malicious software and to develop ways of neutralizing it.
- Reverse engineering: the process of deconstructing software to understand how it works. It is done to identify the software’s internal processes or to recreate the software in a more modern programming environment.
- Software compliance: used to check whether the binary form of the software complies with specific standards or licenses.
- Recovering lost source code: sometimes, the original source code for the software is lost or no longer available. In this case, binary analysis can be used to recreate the source code, although the process is often complex and imperfect.