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Intellectual Property Protection Using Obfuscation

Teddy Rogers

About This File

In this technical report, we discuss the use of code obfuscation as means of protecting the intellectual property of software. An obfuscation is a behaviour preserving program transformation which aims to make a program harder to understand (which can mean it becomes unintelligible to automated program comprehension tools or that the result of program analyses become less useful to a human adversary). This report consists of three main parts. The first part of the report discusses some of the possible definitions of obfuscation and gives an extensive survey of some of the current obfuscation techniques. The second part considers a report written by University of Applied Sciences of Upper Austria, Hagenberg which discuss a variety of different protection techniques (including obfuscation). The last part reviews the techniques that we have seen so far. We provide an analysis of some of the reasons why current obfuscators are generally weak and why some of the better obfuscation techniques have not been implemented. Finally, we give recommendations for how better obfuscators can be created using obfuscation techniques which have not yet been implemented.

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