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Reverse Engineering of Real-Time Assembly Code

Teddy Rogers

About This File

Much legacy real-time code is written in assembly language. Such code is often crafted to meet stringent time and space requirements so the high-level intent of the programmer may have been obscured. The result is code that is difficult to maintain and reuse. In this paper we present a tool for reverse engineering of real-time Z86 assembly code, together with a tool for validation of the output. Our experimental results are for a suite of commercial micro-controllers. For those benchmarks, our tool does the bulk of the reverse-engineering work, leaving just a few undisciplined uses of machine code to be handled manually. Our tool is designed to preserve programmer intent to the largest extent possible. Thus, the reverse engineered program is easier to understand and maintain than the original.

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