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Reversing: Secrets of Reverse Engineering [Paperback]

Eldad Eilam
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 15, 2005 0764574817 978-0764574818 1
Beginning with a basic primer on reverse engineering-including computer internals, operating systems, and assembly language-and then discussing the various
applications of reverse engineering, this book provides readers with practical, in-depth techniques for software reverse engineering. The book is broken into two parts, the first deals with security-related reverse engineering and the second explores the more practical aspects of reverse engineering. In addition, the author explains how to reverse engineer a third-party software library to improve interfacing and how to reverse engineer a competitor's software to build a better product.
* The first popular book to show how software reverse engineering can help defend against security threats, speed up development, and unlock the secrets of competitive products
* Helps developers plug security holes by demonstrating how hackers exploit reverse engineering techniques to crack copy-protection schemes and identify software targets for viruses and other malware
* Offers a primer on advanced reverse-engineering, delving into "disassembly"-code-level reverse engineering-and explaining how to decipher assembly language

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Reversing: Secrets of Reverse Engineering + The IDA Pro Book: The Unofficial Guide to the World's Most Popular Disassembler
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Sometimes, the best way to advance is in reverse

If you want to know how something works, you take it apart very carefully. That's exactly what this book shows you—how to deconstruct software in a way that reveals design and implementation details, sometimes even source code. Why? Because reversing reveals weak spots, so you can target your security efforts. Because you can reverse-engineer malicious code in order to neutralize it. Because understanding what makes a program work lets you build a better one. You'll learn how here.

  • Learn to read compiler-generated assembly language code for IA-32 compatible processors
  • Decipher an undocumented file format or network protocol
  • Understand when reverse engineering is legal, and when—and why—it may not be
  • See how hackers use reversing to defeat copy protection technology
  • Find out how to pull the plug on malicious code
  • Determine how to prevent others from reversing your code, and find out how effective such steps can be
  • Explore reverse engineering on the .NET platform and its assembly language, MSIL
  • Observe the dissection of a real-world malicious program and see how the attacker used it to control infected systems

About the Author

Eldad Eilam is a consultant in the field of reverse engineering. He assists clients with operating system and in-depth software reverse engineering, and has devoted several years to developing advanced reverse engineering techniques.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764574817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764574818
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource June 4, 2005
This book is a very good introduction and instructional manual on a subject that is both relevant and shadowy. Uttering the

phrase, "reverse engineering", these days conjures up visions of crackers and other criminals breaking into websites and stealing private information. But for anyone serious about improving their programming skills, "Reversing - Secrets of Reverse Engineering" is a must read. For example, debugging and reversing activities are very close kin; you will improve your skill in tracking down and understanding bugs in your code by learning some of the techniques presented in this book.

The highlight of the book (for me) was Chapter 11 where the author presents step-by-step sessions in reversing progressively more difficult protection schemes. If you feel uncomfortable with this activity, rest assured that the author has neatly sidestepped some murky legal issues by using Internet examples created for this purpose and his own program, designed to illustrate some of the protection techniques presented in other chapters of his book. Another chapter, "Deciphering File Formats", uses this same trick by reversing an encryption program Mr. Eilam wrote for this purpose. The appendices are another valuable contribution where the discussion turns to common code patterns produced by most compilers and how to interpret and extract the last bit of information from them.

Minor nits - I wish the assembly listings were broken up to better highlight points made by the author in his discussions. It became very tedious to match addresses mentioned in his discourse with those in the listings and reduced the overall effectiveness of the material.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure perfection. April 11, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am sorry for having written this review so late. This book is a true gem; a must-have for any serious software engineer. Understanding how software works under the hood is key to writing code properly -- and this book provides an insight on that topic in an absolutely BRILLIANT MANNER.

Having a fair bit of reverse engineering experience myself, I have found this book to be extremely concise and detaild -- and I have learned a fair bit of new material while reading it.

There is no dull moment in this book. The author (who is clearly a gifted writer) explains reverse-engineering-related topics in a fascinating and unique manner, and, within this work, he actually cements the way in which reverse engineering should always be taught. Written by a true master, the book is very pedagogic; every chapter is accompanied by detailed examples -- which make the discussed topics crystal-clear.

I would have given this book more than five stars, had I been able to -- and I can recommend it to every software deveopler without a trace of hesitation; actually, it is now that I have bought an additional copy as a gift to a friend. Rest assured that this book will be a crucial part in your collection of tech books, just like it is in mine.

To sum it all up (and as it becomes clear from the above written): I think that this book is a magnificent work of art (no less), and I would even dare to say that I enjoyed it more than any tech book I ever owned. With all the aforementioned complements and my vain attempts to describe the magnificence of this work, words still can't fully do justice to this book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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56 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely didactic and well written, but . . . April 18, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinarily didactic book. If you want jump inside this field ("secure code"), then take the book by the hand and go ahead.

Well written and very pedagogic, the book is useful even for experts. The only limitation (clearly stated in the back cover) is the full orientation toward the Microsoft's .NET platform (and of course the Windows/Intel realm).

Some chapters should be more deeply analyzed and the chapter 8 (Reversing Malware) is somewhat naive.

Even so, overall . . . 5 stars.

If you are in "secure code", this book is a MUST.

p.s. As an added value the book is so self-contained (no external sources needed) and so complete, that can be used as a quick but sufficient introduction to computer system architectures. To know more about the book try the "Search Inside" feature in this same page.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great tutorial for reverse engineering October 13, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The authour walked you through the techniques which can be used in reverse/anti-reverse software. Most of them can be applied and used when you do your own code reverse. The book also teaches you how to protect your own application from reversing.

This book isn't just a theoritcal or academic book. You can learn the practical skills from it.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, but not always accurate January 26, 2008
This book is a dense collection of information about various aspects of reversing.

There are a few factual errors, and so, while this book can be used for bed-time reading, I wouldn't count on it as a reference.

Before people pounce on me for mentioning 'factual errors' and not substantiating them, let me draw their attention to the description of calling conventions in this book. This book mentions that cdecl and stdcall pass arguments in different orders (i.e left to right for cdecl and right to left for stdcall). This is just plain wrong. I wonder how this important detail could not be caught during editing, and technical review.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners
A good book well laid out to find what you are looking for. It is a bit over my head but leads you in the direction of the background knowledge you might need to catch up on. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Lee March
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book ! Lots of uses !!!
among many purposes, when you have the source code: understand compiled code, and tweaking the source to get a better performance; verify that the code contains only what it... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Pierre Jean Lavelle
Very helpful in understanding technical topics such as copy protection and type of operation for some virii. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Andrew Mackie
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
Amazing book on reading native x86 assembly code. I didn't finished reading it yet, but til now exceeded my expectations. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Bernardo
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent review, great focus
As a preliminary review without having completed the text yet, I have to say that this book is very well focused for the Windows developer. Read more
Published 17 months ago by JonShops
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written Explanations Containing Serious Reversing
This well written gem contains everything needed for a solid foundation in x86 reversing. It will walk you through completing several daunting tasks and does not shy away from... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jordan Grotepas
5.0 out of 5 stars In the shoes of a master
I can evaluate the skill of a writer by measuring my average reading speed.
And this one will make your think. It will make you act. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Nicolas Dorier
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to understand things deeply!
I am student of Electrical And Computer Engineering School and I have to say that this book gives the opportunity to think in a certain way in order to analyze things and fully... Read more
Published on April 25, 2012 by Antonios
5.0 out of 5 stars general estimate
An intersting treaty which goes far beyond the usual documentation: I found remarkable the structured exception handling. Particularly detailed is the file extraction process. Read more
Published on September 12, 2011 by Francesco Bubbico
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Enough
Books fall into three categories - rigorous, technical, and leisure reading. The rigorous books are intended for college students and teach theoretical principles. Read more
Published on March 30, 2011 by LittleSystemGuy
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