6 Books on Reverse Engineering for Security Experts

Reverse engineering is the art of extracting information from a given man-made device, be it a telephone, or an email account. You can reverse engineer anything that can be broken apart, and then put back together. In the recent years salaries for reverse engineers have risen from $45,000 all the way up to $95,000! It’s definitely a market to explore and learn more about, digital security is big part of the modern future.

I have documented some courses on ethical hacking and penetration testing, and I think that both go together really well with that we’re going to learn from the books in this roundup. You can also explore some less time consuming methods like vulnerability scanners, some of which I have used myself as many as eight years ago. Have you learned anything about hacking, exploitation and reverse engineering by using automatic tools?

You don’t see stories only about desktop PC’s getting hacked, more and more mobile customers are beginning to get exposed to massive online attacks, which was one of the reasons for putting together the secure coding practices post for iOS, I’m sure that an Android version will follow in the near future. Ok, lets take a look at some of the most popular books on the subject of reverse engineering. You can suggest your own you know where.

By the way, if you’re looking for a decent community to join in order to discuss your reverse engineering progress, I’m quite happy with suggesting Reverse Engineering at Stack Exchange, it’s a great community of like-minded people that come from all backgrounds of life. The golden rule to this particular community is to do research before you ask repeat questions, that’s it!

Wireshark Crash Course

If you want to gain real-world experience of how to analyze and sniff networks, this little introduction course to Wireshark might be of great help. I’m putting it here because I know where it can lead, especially in terms of career choices. Don’t look at everything through evil eyes, but definitely give this course a go. You’ll quickly learn all you need to know in order to protect your own network, and the network of your clients.

Nearly two thousand people have enrolled to learn this tool, why not join them and see where it takes you?

1. Assembly Language Step-by-Step

Assembly is the golden standard for reverse engineering, so learning how to program with Assembly is quite essential to any serious engineer out there. This book stretches for over 600 pages, but keep in mind that mindful practice requires a lot of training, observation of examples, and continuous practice. You will hardly become a great program from this book alone, but you’re guaranteed to have better understanding of how Assembly, and reverse engineering works.

This new edition of the bestselling guide to assembly programming now covers DOS and Linux! The Second Edition begins with a highly accessible overview of the internal operations of the Intel-based PC and systematically covers all the steps involved in writing, testing, and debugging assembly programs.

2. Hacker Disassembling Uncovered

You’ll be learning all about assembly structure, how are programs laid and built out, how to work together with libraries to achieve two-sided results, tips and research on relocation, loaders, and dozens of others topics that will stretch into quite the learning experience. There are many reviews from system administrator, kernel operators and other technical workers who say this book is a must for anyone looking to gain experience with reverse engineering.

Advanced disassembler topics such as optimizing compilers and movable code are discussed as well.

3. Hacking the Xbox

What better way to learn about a subject if not by true trial and error, if you really want to get your hands dirty with some geeky technology, then perhaps this book is the answer to your prayers. Andrew Huang takes you on a journey of disassembling the XBox gaming console, and learning more about how it works and how it can be used to your own advantage, but not to say that you won’t be learning about the practices that Microsoft uses to protect its own property.

4. The IDA Pro Book

IDA is a Windows, Linux or Mac OS X hosted multi-processor disassembler and debugger that offers so many features it is hard to describe them all. If you’re an IDA user, then this book is going to be like the Bible to you, it simply is packed with every single piece of information that you may ever need in regards to manipulating and reverse engineering things through IDA.

5. Secrets of Reverse Engineering

Eldad Eilam believes that in order to learn how something really works, you’ve to – carefully – take it apart and see for yourself. And, that is just what the doctor has order in this book. Eldad will show you how to deconstruct software and other similar types of technology wonders in order to reveal their design, implementation and sometimes even raw features. Which is what we really want to do as reverse engineering practitioners.

Immerse yourself in this 600 page book that will totally change your perception of how software is built, and who knows – you might even find new passion!

6. Practical Reverse Engineering

Every day, even if we don’t know about it, there are hundreds of attacks and malicious activities being performed on thousands if not millions of websites, and who is there to protect these websites? Or, should we say – people? Reverse engineering offers the ability to learn more about how the digital technology works, and with that in mind – it becomes one of the most valuable subjects for those studying information security. Yet, many people think that it’s too hard to learn, too hard to master. Wrong.

It is difficult to learn reverse engineering (at a proficient level), but once you get past the point of having to learn all the basics, it becomes more of a science than anything else. Practical Reverse Engineering aims to demystify the art and systematize the reverse-engineering process for students and professionals.

Books on Reverse Engineering for Security Experts

I’m sure as the years will go by, we will begin to see more advanced and in-depth material in regards to this topic. Reverse engineering has been around for many many years, way before some of us could have even thought about it. In hopes to help the internet learn, I’ve now opened a special section that will discuss everything related to Web Security, and I do hope that it eventually becomes somewhat of a gateway to protecting yourself and your data.


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