Chapter 10. Antireversing Techniques

There are many cases where it is beneficial to create software that is immune to reversing. This chapter presents the most powerful and common reversing approaches from the perspectives of both a software developer interested in developing a software program and from the perspective of an attacker attempting to overcome the antireversing measures and reverse the program.

Before I begin an in-depth discussion on the various antireversing techniques and try to measure their performance, let's get one thing out of the way: It is never possible to entirely prevent reversing. What is possible is to hinder and obstruct reversers by wearing them out and making the process so slow and painful that they just give up. Whether some reversers will eventually succeed depends on several factors such as how capable they are and how motivated they are. Finally, the effectiveness of antireversing techniques will also depend on what price are you willing to pay for them. Every antireversing approach has some cost associated with it. Sometimes it's CPU usage, sometimes it's in code size, and sometimes it's reliability and robustness that's affected.

Why Antireversing?

If you ignore the costs just described, antireversing almost always makes sense. Regardless of which application is being developed, as long as the end users are outside of the developing organization and the software is not open source, you should probably consider introducing some form of antireversing ...

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