Code obfuscation / decompilers?
josh at open.com
Sat Oct 7 07:59:05 CEST 2000
> This is a hopeless task: at some point your application must finally come
> down to a yes/no decision -- yes, it *can* toggle that bit (because the
> license is valid) or no, it *can not* toggle that bit (the license doesn't
> And at that point, the hacker simply changes your code to say "yes," all
> the time.
Yes, the same logic applies to the lock on m front door. Anyone who comes
all the way to my door intending to come in, is going to come in. The lock
only has to be good enough to force them to go through a window. Any more
is a waste.
I'm trying to avoid tempting those people who are otherwise honest, but
might "just be curious". Also, as I said previously, sometimes we are
forced to live with the mistakes of others. Sometimes these include poor
designs. To argue over whether it should have been done that way in the
first place is basically peeing into the wind. It is what it is, and so the
Having looked at the output of dis.dis() on my code, it is obvious that
there is a lot of information still in there which could be removed without
affecting the behavior of the code. The names of local variables is an
obvious place to start. Their original names contain big clues as to their
purpose. Names like "key", "count", "validtags" are a lot more useful to
someone perusing the code than "foo", "bar", "gronk", or even "_1", "_2",
"_3". Randomizing the order of the list of constants would help to reduce
one's ability to see patterns in the data. Shuffling the order of
instructions, adding in jumps, small amounts of dead code, removing line
numbers, all of these techniques could be done such that you could obfuscate
the same chunk of code multiple times and get different results each time.
Ah well. It would appear that the answer is "no, there aren't any handy
code obfuscators out there." Maybe I'll write one, if I get a chance.
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