Bring my reverse-engineering/disassembling skills up to date
June 4, 2009 6:44 AM   Subscribe

How would I get back into "cracking" programs (for kicks & giggles)?

Maybe a decade ago I used to crack software for fun. I enjoy the challenge of delving into an unknown program's innards, reverse-engineer the licensing and bypassing it or recreating it myself (for example in a key generator).

This is not about stealing software. I can afford it and I do buy the software that I need. It's about the challenge and the fun of playing around with code.

Back when I did this I would use SoftIce to set breakpoints on GetText and work from there, and use w32dasm to get a code listing and go through that. We are talking here more specifically about trapping the input of a license code in a text box or the like.

Since then many things must have changed. Would this procedure work on Vista/Windows 7? Are there alternatives? Are there more advanced techniques nowadays? I am curious about the state of the "scene" and whether my antiquated knowledge still applies. For example, what would be a modern version of this basic tutorial?

Many thanks for any pointers & feel free to MeMail me if you are uncomfortable posting here.
posted by splice to Technology (4 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know anything specific about software cracking, but for general delving the tools of the trade seem to be Hex Rays and IDA Pro.
posted by phoenixy at 7:00 AM on June 4, 2009

Along the same lines as software cracks, you might check out The Shellcoders Handbook - it gives techniques on disassembly and exploitation of binaries for more interesting results.
posted by bensherman at 7:24 AM on June 4, 2009

OllyDbg was mentioned here (I think) a few weeks ago and it looked decent to to me.
posted by chairface at 10:00 AM on June 4, 2009

IDA Pro is a sick disassembling debugger.
posted by Netzapper at 11:04 AM on June 4, 2009

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