Chapter 4. Windows CE Reverse Engineering

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In the previous chapters, we covered reverse engineering on traditional platforms such as Win32 and Linux. However, what about the little guys? Can you reverse engineer software on embedded operating systems? Why would you want to?

Many embedded operating systems are stripped-down microversions of their big brothers. An embedded operating system brings the power of a complete OS to small devices such as mobile phones or watches , which suffer from severely restricted processing and memory resources. However, as embedded devices continue to increase in sophistication, their vulnerability to attack increases as well. Already the first computer viruses have hit embedded platforms, as we describe in Chapter 17. Corporate spyware will likely follow soon. With hundreds of millions of "smart" consumer appliances on the horizon, the potential for abuse keeps increasing.

Embedded RCE is still in its infancy. In this chapter, we introduce embedded OS architecture and how to crack the applications that run on it. For our example, we have chosen Windows CE, which powers many Windows Mobile OS flavors such as PocketPC and Smartphone. Windows CE is a semi- open , scalable, 32-bit, true-multitasking operating system that has been designed to run with maximum power on minimum resources. This OS is actually a miniature version of Windows 2000/XP that can run on appliances as small as a watch.

Why have we chosen Windows CE for our reverse engineering research, instead of friendly, open source, and free embedded Linux? For better or worse , CE is set to become one of the most prevalent operating systems of all time, thanks to aggressive marketing tactics by Microsoft. In addition, because of their closed nature, Windows platforms usually see the majority of viruses and unethical corporate spyware. Thus, the need to reverse engineer embedded Windows applications is more pressing. Download the free eMbedded Visual Tools (MVT) package from and get cracking ”literally.

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Security Warrior
Security Warrior
ISBN: 0596005458
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 211 © 2008-2017.
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