Reversing C++ programs with IDA pro and Hex-rays

Posted: October 3, 2011 in Reversing C++ programs with IDA pro and Hex-rays

Author: Aris


During my holidays, I had plenty of time to study and reverse a program, which was completely coded in C++. This was the first time I seriously studied a C++ codebase, using IDA as the only source of information, and found it quite hard.

Here’s a sample of what you get with Hex-rays when you start up digging into an interesting function:

v81 = 9;
v63 = *(_DWORD *)(v62 + 88);
if ( v63 )
   v64 = *(int (__cdecl **)(_DWORD, _DWORD, _DWORD,
   _DWORD, _DWORD))(v63 + 24);
   if ( v64 )
     v62 = v64(v62, v1, *(_DWORD *)(v3 + 16), *(_DWORD
     *)(v3 + 40), bstrString);

It’s our job to add symbol names, identify classes and set up all the information to help hex-rays in giving us a reliable and certainly understandable output:

padding = *Dst;
if ( padding < 4 )
  return -1;
buffer_skip_bytes(this2->decrypted_input_buffer, 5u);
buffer_skip_end(this2->decrypted_input_buffer, padding);
if ( this2->encrypt_in != null )
  if ( this2->compression_in != null )
    avail_len = buffer_avail_bytes(this2->compression_buffer_in);
    ptr = buffer_get_data_ptr(this2->compression_buffer_in);
    buffer_add_data_and_alloc(this2->decrypted_input_buffer, ptr, avail_len);
packet_type = buffer_get_u8(this2->decrypted_input_buffer);
*len = buffer_avail_bytes(this2->decrypted_input_buffer);
this2->packet_len = 0;
return packet_type;

Of course, Hex-rays is not going to invent the names for you, you’ll still have to make sense of the code and what it means to you, but at least, being able to give a name to the classes will certainly help.

All my samples here have been compiled either with visual studio or Gnu C++. I have found the results to be similar, even if they may not be compatible. Fix it for your compiler of interest.


Greatz thanks to Aris for sharing his knowledge! Original link:





  1. Hi,

    I’m happy that you appreciate my document but I never gave you authorization to publish a copy. You can let the introduction and the link to my blog but please remove the rest.

    There’s no contact information in the “about” section.

    Please answer, the next step is legal threats.


  2. kienmanowar says:

    Hi Aris,

    OK if you dont want me to publish your document, i will do some brief introduction and give the link to your blog.
    Sorry for bothering!


  3. Thanks for updating. If you did the same with other documents, I greatly advise you to take contact with authors because most of the time it’s not ok.


  4. kienmanowar says:

    Ok Aris, i agree with you 🙂

    Have a nice day!

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