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Ninth Working Conference on Reverse Engineering, 2002. Proceedings. (2002)
Richmond, Virginia
Oct. 29, 2002 to Nov. 1, 2002
ISBN: 0-7695-1799-4
pp: 0045
Machine code disassembly routines form a fundamental component of software systems that statically analyze or modify executable programs, e.g., reverse engineering systems, static binary translators, and link-time optimizers. The task of disassembly is complicated by indirect jumps and the presence of non-executable data--jump tables, alignment bytes, etc.--in the instruction stream. Existing disassembly algorithms are not always able to cope successfully with executable files containing such features, and they fail silently--i.e., produce incorrect disassemblies without any indication that the results they are producing are incorrect. In this paper we examine two commonly-used disassembly algorithms and illustrate their shortcomings. We propose a hybrid approach that performs better than these algorithms in the sense that it is able to detect situations where the disassembly may be incorrect and limit the extent of such disassembly errors. Experimental results indicate that the algorithm is quite effective: the amount of code flagged as incurring disassembly errors is usually quite small.

S. Debray, G. Andrews and B. Schwarz, "Disassembly of Executable Code Revisited," Ninth Working Conference on Reverse Engineering, 2002. Proceedings.(WCRE), Richmond, Virginia, 2002, pp. 0045.
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