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 #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 […]

Igor’s tip of the week #12: Creating structures with known size

Sometimes you know the structure size but not the actual layout yet. For example, when the size of memory being allocated for the structure is fixed: In such cases, you can quickly make a dummy structure and then modify it as you analyze code which works with it. There are several approaches which can be used […]

Igor’s tip of the week #11: Quickly creating structures

When reverse engineering a big program, you often run into information stored in structures. The standard way of doing it involves using the Structures window and adding fields one by one, similar to the way you format data items in disassembly. But are there other options? Let’s look at some of them. Using already formatted data This […]

Igor’s tip of the week #10: Working with arrays

Arrays are used in IDA to represent a sequence of multiple items of the same type: basic types (byte, word, dword etc.) or complex ones (e.g. structures). Creating an array To create an array: Create the first item; Choose “Array…” from the context menu , or press *; Fill in at least the Array size field and click OK. Step 1 […]