reverse engineering definition by Webster's New World
- reverse-engineer transitive verb
reverse engineering - Computer Definition
Involves analyzing a computer system to identify its components and their relationships. Then, the parts of the system are put together in a different form or at some other abstraction level. Reverse-engineering is often done to redesign a system for increased maintainability or to produce system replicas without having access to the original design.
For example, an individual might take the code of a computer program, execute it to review how it behaves with different inputs, and then write a program that performs the same as before, or, preferably, even better. On the Black Hat side of the equation, an integrated circuit might be reverse-engineered by a firm that wants to make unlicensed (and therefore illegal) copies of a hot-selling chip.
Researchers who reverse-engineer software to find programming flaws cannot legally publish their findings online in France. During the first week of March 2005, a French court ruled that when researcher Guillaume Tena discovered a number of vulnerabilities in the Viguard antivirus software in 2001 and then published his findings online in March 2002, he violated article 335.2 of the Code of Intellectual Property. Though he could have gone to jail for four months, he was set free but was fined 5,000 Euros.
Farlex, Inc. Reverse-Engineering.[Online, 2004.] Farlex, Inc. Website. http://computing-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/reverse%20engineering; Kotadia, M. France Puts a Damper on Flaw Hunting. [Online, March 9, 2005.] CNET Networks, Inc. Website. http://news.com.com/France+puts+a+damper+on+faw+hunting/2100-7350_3-5606306.html.