Igor’s tip of the week #22: IDA desktop layouts

IDA’s default windows layout is sufficient to perform most standard analysis tasks, however it may not always be the best fit for all situations. For example, you may prefer to open additional views or to modify existing ones depending on your monitor size, specific tasks, or the binary being analyzed. Rearranging windows The standard operation is mostly […]

Igor’s tip of the week #21: Calculator and expression evaluation feature in IDA

When reverse-engineering, sometimes you need to perform some simple calculations. While you can always use an external calculator program, IDA has a built-in one. You can invoke it by pressing ? or via View > Calculator. The calculator shows the result in hex, decimal, octal, binary and as a character constant. This information is also duplicated […]

Igor’s tip of the week #20: Going places

Even if you prefer to move around IDA by clicking, the G shortcut should be the one to remember. The action behind it is called simply “Jump to address” but it can do many more things than what can be guessed from the name. Jump to address First up is the actual jumping to an address: enter an […]

Igor’s tip of the week #19: Function calls

When dealing with big programs or huge functions, you may want to know how various functions interact, for example where the current function is called from and what other functions it calls itself. While for the former you can use “Cross-references to”, for the latter you have to go through all instructions of the function […]

Igor’s tip of the week #18: Decompiler and global cross-references

Previously we’ve covered cross-references in the disassembly view but in fact you can also consult them in the decompiler (pseudocode) view. Local cross-references The most common shortcut (X) works similarly to disassembly: you can use it on labels, variables (local and global), function names, but there are some differences and additions: for local variables, the list of […]

Igor’s tip of the week #17: Cross-references 2

Cross references view The jump to xref actions are good enough when you have a handful of cross-references but what if you have hundreds or thousands? For such cases, the Cross references view may be useful. You can open it using the corresponding item in the View > Open Subviews menu. IDA will gather cross-references to […]

Igor’s tip of the week #16: Cross-references

cross-reference, n. A reference or direction in one place in a book or other source of information to information at another place in the same work (from Wiktionary) To help you during analysis, IDA keeps track of cross-references (or xrefs for short) between different parts of the program. You can inspect them, navigate them […]

Igor’s tip of the week #14: Comments in IDA

The “I” in IDA stands for interactive, and one of the most common interactive actions you can perform is adding comments to the disassembly listing (or decompiler pseudocode). There are different types of comments you can add or see in IDA. Regular comments These comments are placed at the end of the disassembly line, delimited by an […]

Igor’s tip of the week #13: String literals and custom encodings

Most of IDA users probably analyze software that uses English or another Latin-based alphabet. Thus the defaults used for string literals – the OS system encoding on Windows and UTF-8 on Linux or macOS – are usually good enough. However, occasionally you may encounter a program which does use another language. Unicode strings In case the program […]