How to obtain Source Code from Software Binaries

This posts describes some ways to obtain the source code from software binaries.

The process of obtaining source code from software binaries is an activity of reverse engineering.

Methods to get Source Code from Software Binaries

A disassembler is a computer program that converts machine code into assembly language.

A decompiler is a computer program that converts a machine code into programming language.

Methods to get the source code from a Software:

  • Disassembling/decompiling. Obtaining the assembly language or high-level programming language source code.
  • Debugging. Use a debugging tool to analyze the binary code.
  • Reverse Engineering. By examining the behavior and output of the binary, you might be able to infer parts of the original source code. This process involves analyzing the program’s functionality and trying to reconstruct the logic behind it.
  • Data Recovery. In some cases, old development files or remnants of the source code might be present in the binary as strings or symbols. Scouring the binary for such information could lead to partial source code recovery.

Disassemblers and Decompilers

You can get a list of popular disassemblers and decompilers on this post.

Debugging Tools

You can get a list of popular debugging tools on this post.

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