Reverse Engineering is the process of recreating a program with no access to the original code. While not exclusively a technique used by hackers or in computer science, it can be used to obtain some extremely important information in cybersecurity. Reverse engineering can be used to find system vulnerabilities, fix bugs, and find data about malware to help develop software that will protect from it. Hackers use this process to find vulnerabilities in security that can be exploited.
Although there are no exclusive laws against the practice of reverse engineering, it is a widely debated legal and ethical issue. One factor that makes this complicated is Copyright laws. In general, software created by a company is its intellectual property. By just reverse engineering code, using any information learned from the process could be a copyright violation, even if one does not use the code. There are many grey areas in trying to prohibit the use of reverse engineering, as many aspects are necessary in other practices and banning it would not make sense.
Depending on the end goal, reverse engineering can be approached in multiple ways. Some of the most common tools used include the following: