Can someone take linux C++ binary to break into individual objects or components?

Posted on 2004-04-01
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
Hi Guru:

Can someone take linux C++'s binary file and break into individual objects or components with same object name or different object name?

I am asking the questions since one company ask us to give them binary file. If they can break the binary into objects, it is easy for them to reverse engineer our code since. Please let me know if you already have the answers. Thanks.
Question by:http29
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LVL 44

Accepted Solution

Karl Heinz Kremer earned 100 total points
ID: 10736263
You can - with a good disassembler and a huge amount of time - reverse engineer any executable, but this has nothing to do with potentially splitting an executable into the original object files.
I suspect that this can be done with a lot of effort, but again, it would not make any difference if you are dealing with the complete executable, or the individual object files. The effort to reverse engineer these two would be the same.

You need to give your the executable if you want to sell (or more general, distribute) software, and this is not different between e.g. Windows or Linux.

Does this answer your question?

Author Comment

ID: 10740217
You mean that to reverse engineer those objects are same as to reverse engineer binary file? If this is the case, I should be fine to deliver indivisual objects instead of binary file (in worst case, they might ask for these), right? Thanks.
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 10740266
The only difference is that the individual object files are smaller.

I don't know about your product, but I doubt that your customer needs the object files. They probably want to run the software, which means that all they need are the executables.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 10741624
Hi http29,

Keep in mind: Binaries have been distributed for ages. Yes, people could split them into little .o chunks. This probably requires even quite limited effort thanks to ELF :-)

But no, the resulting little chunks (one .o for every global symbol *shudder*) are not of much use in terms of reverse-engineering.

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 10741657
BTW: If you want to be on the safe side, you need a tool like "shroud" for C++. This will create an unreadable copy of your sources, renaming everthing to meaningless names (like a5235). Then you can even deliver your source code :-)))

Such a tool should be commercially available.

Author Comment

ID: 10741904
Thanks all of the replys. Since our product doesn't run on their platform, they think lib problems and ask for objects (most possible) so that they can relink and recompile (I don't know how). This is why we have so many concerns.

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