Is reverse engineering ethical?

Reverse engineering is the practice of using a systematic approach for the sake of decompiling a software or program and then modifying it according to one’s own needs. It is a complex process that involves first occupying the said software or program in your possession and then starting the ultimate process of stripping each and every line of code to see what it is made of, how you can insert your own code in there, or try to remove various protections and online checking so that the integrity of the software could remain intact by deactivating the online activation. 

The reasons for engaging in the reverse engineering process can be different for different people and the scenarios in which they commenced with the process. The company that has designed the software in the first place could engage with it for the sake of a little R&D experiment for checking the integrity of their software or for understanding that how they can improve the quality of their software in the new version of the app or software. Other than that people interested in understanding the design and layout of the project might perform reverse engineering and last but not least the crackers or people who pirate stuff such as video games and stuff might be interested in commencing into the process of reverse engineering. 

Elements discovered in the process of reverse engineering

As told earlier the whole software or program is ripped apart until its mechanism and the base code could be studied profoundly. Therefore the elements discovered are nearly the same but can be different based on the fact that how far is someone willing to go with the process of reverse engineering. Following are some of the elements or objective that lies behind the reverse engineering process;

  • Identifying the various components of the systems and understanding their core relationship
  • Creating the very representations of the system in another form or in a higher level of abstraction
  • Creating a physical representation of the system

What are some of the ethical issues tied with reverse engineering?

The ethical issues that are connected with the use of reverse engineering technologies are not a new debate as this has been going on since the presence and use of reverse engineering practices. People or companies who develop the product are not ever going to support the reverse engineering techniques and practices used by their competitors and if they get successful then all of their hard work and the code that the original company has been working for all along will be out in the open. Not only this way their intellectual property is out in the open thus violating their copyrights and stealing their hard work. 

But at the end of the day all of this depends on the intent of the person who is engaging in such practices, it is entirely possible that they don’t mean any harm and are only going through with it for the sake of curiosity and trying to understand the digital components of the software or program better. But if on the other hand, their intent is something else then all of it becomes very difficult in the afterglow to deal with.     

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