What is Software Reverse Engineering (SRE) and Which Are its Benefits
In the dynamically developing market and under strong competition, it is crucial for businesses to learn to get quality results within a short time. This equally applies to the information technology area as well.
Software Reverse Engineering is a popular practice area that allows for solving similar issues in the best way possible. This approach is used to work with both material and software products. In this article, we will talk about it with respect to the IT area.
What Is Reverse Engineering in Software?
Since our childhood, we know that it is easier to comprehend how things work by dismantling and studying them.
Software Reverse Engineering is a thorough study of particular software, documentation, or code aimed at understanding its operation principle and reproducing a similar product without cloning it.
Having completed a software code analysis, developers compile an algorithm for that software in pseudocode. If the software operates as a hardware driver, developers compile a complete specification list for the hardware they are interested in. Based on algorithms and specifications received, developers can compile their own hardware driver.
Simply put, it is when you take somebody else’s product and create a similar one after studying its work mechanics.
An example from game development:
You want your users to feel your game character’s jumping very well when it comes to its control, for instance, as in Super Mario Bros. You can set to work and start developing documentation, testing prototypes, and so on. What you can do instead is to launch Super Mario, analyze character jumping, write down everything into a document, and send it to development.
What Are Some Common Uses for Reverse Engineering?
Software Reverse Engineering is widely used in electronics, as well as in industrial, computer, and military areas. Based on reverse engineering, processors, operating systems, and different types of software are created and databases are designed.
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Here are some examples of tasks, to solve which you can use this particular approach:
- staff training and development;
- studying file formats used for data storage;
- enhancing product compatibility with third-party software or platform;
- studying commercial product undocumented features;
- a possibility to find interesting previously unknown mechanics that can be used further on;
- security enhancement: checking whether your software is capable of resisting reverse engineering conducted by intruders, virus protection, etc.
The process of studying anything and trying to comprehend its operation principle is an efficient way of creating new technologies and studying the existing ones.
5 Benefits of Reverse Engineering
- Studying the existing code and third-party product’s mechanics. It can help you create innovations.
- Cost reduction when creating a new product or function and delivering it to the market. It is always cheaper than starting work from scratch.
- Reverse engineering allows detecting vulnerabilities in the product and fixing their sources.
- There is no need to “reinvent the wheel,” and that can help to save a lot of time.
- Getting knowledge that can be useful in the future even for a completely new product.
Reverse Engineering is a topic for multiple articles, and we have only covered some basic points. The main thing to remember is that its main objective is a study and not just copying software or hardware.
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