IDA 8.0 Highlights
As usual, IDA has improved on many fronts, but the most important feature this time around - and the one that justifies the major version bump - is the introduction of IDA Teams.
IDA Teams is out!
We've been hard at work putting the finishing touches to our new product: an integrated set of tools to bring seamless collaboration among teams of [reverse-]engineers.
Inspired by the best revision control tools out there, IDA Teams brings their key concepts to IDA databases & workflows:
- revision control,
- changes attribution,
- diffing & merging
We're very proud - and excited! - by what IDA Teams can accomplish, and hope you will appreciate its potential. But we won't stop there: we already have great ideas for the next versions!
iOS 16 dyld shared cache support
Once again, Apple has modified the internal format of the system files on their mobile operating systems to improve performance and memory usage, so we have updated IDA to support the new tweaks.
Another new trick used by Apple on recent iOS versions is outlined functions. This is a code size optimization where the compiler extracts common instruction sequences used in several functions into a new pseudo-function which is then "called" from multiple places. This behavior tends to make decompiled pseudocode ugly, especially when the outlined functions use arbitrary registers or stack variables from the parent function. Now you can mark such functions with a special attribute and the decompiled code will look much nicer.
For example, here's a fragment of a file which has been compiled with such optimization:
In initial pseudocode, we can see explicit calls to the compiler-generated _OUTLINED_FUNCTION_NN fragments, and some variables marked in orange because the decompiler considers them to be spoiled by the calls (which is the case with calls to regular functions). After marking those pseudo-functions with 'outline' attribute and refreshing the pseudocode, the decompiler inlines everything and there are no more orange variables:
The new version of the language introduced changes to the layout of the metadata. New IDA version can parse it and nicely recover function names.
For example, here's a stripped golang 1.18 binary in IDA 7.7:
And the same binary in IDA 8.0:
As you can see, previously unnamed functions now have proper names.
ARC processors are used in many embedded devices such as SSD drives or Wi-Fi chipsets. It was also the core used in the infamous Intel ME until several years ago. The new decompiler supports all ARC instruction set variants currently supported by IDA: classic 32-bit ISA, 32/16-bit ARCompact and the new ARCv2. Delay slots, conditional instructions and zero-overhead loops are supported out of the box.
NOTE: this decompiler will be initially only available as part of IDA Teams Ultra bundle.
No more Python 2
It's been over two years since Python 2.7 support has ended, and it's time to let go. IDA 8.0 will support only Python 3.x, including the latest 3.10 (Windows installer includes Python 3.10.5).
Better firmware analysis thanks to the function finder plugin (patfind)
Firmware binaries usually do not have any symbols or other metadata which would help IDA to find code in the unmarked loaded data, so users had to do it manually. In the new release, we've added a plugin which makes use of the pattern format used in Ghidra (with minor extensions). This plugin is enabled by default for binary and binary-like formats and helps IDA discover more code automatically. It can also be invoked manually for normal structured files to find otherwise unreferenced code.
Comparison of the number of functions discovered after initial autoanalysis with default settings:
|file type||IDA 7.7||IDA 8.0 + patfind|
|Cortex-M0 firmware (8KB)||0||59|
|ARM9 firmware (23KB)||0||97|
|ARM11 firmware (300KB)||84||1697|
|PowerPC firmware (2MB)||0||2223|
FLAIR pattern generator (makepat)
The FLAIR toolkit, available to all IDA Pro customers, allows creating FLIRT signatures from static libraries.
However, such libraries are not always available - sometimes all you have is just the final linked binary. The
makepat plugin supports creating .pat files for functions in an arbitrary IDA database. It uses the functionality
added for Lumina to mark variable bytes in the patterns. The
.pat can then be compiled to a signature file using
sigmake and applied to other files.
Full list of changes and new features:
- 68K: support switches which use cmpa for the range check
- ARM: improve handling of manual setting of ARM/Thumb mode via the T pseudo-register
- AVR: added config for ATmega640
- PC: improve function recognition
- PIN: support PIN 3.22-98547
- COFF: support ARM64 and ARMv7 object files compiled with /bigobj option
- DWARF: upgrade libdwarf to version 20220625 (aka 0.4.1)
- MACHO: improve symbolication of branch mappings in iOS16+ dyldcaches
- MACHO: support for iOS16 dyld caches
- MACHO: when loading a dyld shared cache, make "single module" option the default choice
FLIRT / TILS / IDS:
- FLIRT: GO: increased coverage of golang signatures
- FLIRT: MFC: added signatures for vc1431 (Visual Studio 16.11.10)
- FLIRT: VC: added signatures for vc1431 32bit(Visual Studio 16.11.10)
- idaclang: added "--idaclang-parse-static" option to the cmdline tool
- idaclang: introduced the "--idaclang-extra-c-mangling" option for building type libs for mixed-language inputs (e.g. C++, C, and Objective-C)
- idaclang: try to pre-set a default target configuration that corresponds to the currently loaded file
- DSCU: support loading (and symbolicating) global offset tables from iOS16
- golang: support for go1.18 (function names, types)
- OBJC: improved decompilation of functions that use objc_alloc_init() to initialize Objective-C objects
- OBJC: improved decompilation of Objective-C binaries by creating artificial imports for to methods not present in the idb
- patfind: new plugin to discover code patterns in otherwise unmarked binaries
Scripting & SDK
- IDAPython: removed Python 2 support
- SDK: added a new method qstring::rtrim() to trim whitespaces
- SDK: added get_stdact_descs() for choosers for customizing the standard actions (Insert, Delete, Edit, Refresh)
- SDK: added wildcard_path_match(), that can match entire paths against a pattern following the same rules as a shell (e.g. ** and ranges like [a-z])
- SDK: improved comment for has_external_refs()
- SDK: support usage of qstring in hashed STL containers
- UI: the command-line arguments in the Debugger>Process options... dialog are no longer limited to 1024 characters
- added option HO_PROP_VOLATILE_LDX to propagate load instructions without checking for volatile memory access
- added support for outlined functions
- arm: recognize thunk functions with suffixes _from_thumb, _from_arm, _veneer
- improve handling of scattered return values (=using mutiple registers/stack locations)
- new decompiler: HEXARC (for the ARC processor family)
- pc: control register maniplation intrinsics (e.g __writecr0) work with 32-bit values in 32-bit mode
- support WCHAR, wchar16_t, wchar32_t as character element types
BUFGIX: IDC: definitions of SN_CHECK/SN_NOCHECK (flags for set_name()) were wrong BUGFIX: ARM: fixed an endless loop which could occur when analyzing code switching between ARM/Thumb modes BUGFIX: ARM: IDA could display a "bad instruction decoding" warning when trying to decode an undefined instruction BUGFIX: ARM: some undefined A64 instructions were wrongly decoded as FCMEQ BUGFIX: ARM: arm64 function arguments with wrong attributes could crash ida BUGFIX: automatically created string literal names would have repeating symbols in place of embedded zeroes in the string BUGFIX: dbg: IDA could produce an internal error when undo was used during debugging BUGFIX: decompiler: do not crash if nullptr is passed to various save_.. functions BUGFIX: decompiler: do not optimize away successive volatile memory reads BUGFIX: decompiler: fix sometimes wrong decompilation when loading values from memory in big-endian mode BUGFIX: decompiler: fixed multiple interrs BUGFIX: decompiler: modifies_d() was incorrectly returning true for instructions without the 'd' operand BUGFIX: DWARF: during source-level debugging, location of some items wouldn't be properly resolved BUGFIX: DWARF: The plugin could INTERR because of how duplicate types were handled BUGFIX: golang: IDA could hang when parisng metadata in some Go binaries BUGFIX: IDA could crash when loading PE files if IDS debugging was enabled (-z40 switch) BUGFIX: IDA could fail to load bytes from modules in iOS 15 dyldcaches for older iphones (iphone X and earlier) BUGFIX: IDA could fail to load symbols for some modules in iOS 15 dyldcaches BUGFIX: idaclang could create invalid types after parsing a "using" declaration that has the same name as an existing type BUGFIX: idaclang could fail to parse c++ type declarations that use the "auto" keyword BUGFIX: idaclang would fail to parse function prototypes that have an unspecified number of arguments BUGFIX: IDAPython: fixed multiple crashes and infinite loops when wrong arguments are passed to IDA APIs BUGFIX: IDAPython: IDA could crash if 'has_insn_feature' was called with improper data BUGFIX: IDAPython: internal errors in IDA API wrappers which are called bypassing IDA UI (e.g. from alternative IDAPython shells) are now caught and reported properly BUGFIX: IDAPython: when trying to create a too big segment, produce a warning instead of fatal error BUGFIX: IDC: calling get_tev_reg() with wrong data could produce "No error" message instead of showing the correct error BUGFIX: installer: PIN debugger plugin was not shipped with Mac builds of IDA by mistake BUGFIX: kernel: compact_numbered_types() was mishandling aliased types BUGFIX: kernel: fixed an endless loop which could occur during application of startup signatures BUGFIX: kernel: fixed interr 641 that could occur when parsing a bad function prototype BUGFIX: kernel: get_strlit_contents() could loop very long time even when maxcps was set to a reasonable value BUGFIX: kernel: IDA could produce "database corrupted" when undoing some operations BUGFIX: MACHO: some ARM64e binaries could have wrong pointer values, leading to wrong parsing of Objective-C metadata BUGFIX: MIPS: bltzal and bgezal were not handled as call instructions BUGFIX: OBJC: "Run until message received" action could fail on macOS 12 BUGFIX: PC: some 64-bit functions would lose offsets when Lumina metadata was applied BUGFIX: PC: ud1 instruction was decoded incorrectly (the mod r/m byte was not parsed) BUGFIX: PDB: fixed interr 984 which could occur when loading PDBs with types from recent Windows builds BUGFIX: PDB: the PDB file download could be cancelled unexpectedly when using symsrv.dll from WinDbg Preview BUGFIX: PPC: functions using 'ba' for tail calls to noret functions were not marked as noret BUGFIX: SDK: get_name_ea() would return non-BADADDR results for structure or enum names BUGFIX: svdimport: plugin could crash when processing certain SVD files BUGFIX: tilib: fixed interr 157 that could occur when listing til contents in the presence of type aliases BUGFIX: UI: database snapshots were added to the recent files list and could fill it completely BUGFIX: UI: IDA could produce internal errror 40225 after some user manipulations with the function graphs BUGFIX: UI: IDA would not display shortcuts for actions in context menus on macOS BUGFIX: UI: strings containing \r\n could be printed as empty in the Output window and the log file BUGFIX: UI: TOOL_CLOSED_BY_ESC in idagui.cfg did not work BUGFIX: windbg: IDA could crash if a breakpoint it added became invalid (e.g. by user's actions bypassing IDA's UI)