Codes are the backbone of any programming language. Be it a database handler or a .net interface design; programming code is the language a computer understands. However, writing a .net code, compiling and executing it displays the brighter side of this story. All major .net compilers such as VB.net, C#, Python, etc. produce their programs in Microsoft Immediate Language or MSIL format. With the help of technology, numerous decompilers and de-assemblers have emerged that threatens the safety of these codes. To counter this reverse engineering syndrome, one needs to deploy an obfuscator to ensure security and authenticity of his code.
What is obfuscation?
In software language, manual obfuscation is the act of presenting computer code in a format that's hard to understand both for machines as well as humans. The tools that help to create such unreadable code are known as obfuscators.
It is quite similar to the concept of cryptography. A cipher text converts data into an unreadable form using an algorithm. Similarly, an obfuscator does the same by renaming the classes and methods to something unrecognizable.
Types of obfuscation:-
One can sub-categorize an obfuscator tool into the following main categories as per the work it performs:
1. XML Tools:
These are mainly XML converters. Their primary job is to create a transformed data from the original MS Excel, MS Access or Oracle Table. Data is retained in the same format after conversion; minimizing readability.
2. Obfuscator .net tools:
Renaming methods, classes, functions, events and fields is the main task of such a tool. Once obfuscated, no one will have the capability of deriving or guessing the actual name even with the help of a de-assembler. In other words, it protects a piece of data from the threats of reverse engineering.
Why should one use an obfuscator?
The primary reason of obfuscation is .net code protect. In addition to this, a few other ideas that highlight its use are:
1. Obfuscation improves the performance of a code. Reliable obfuscator .net tools remove unused files, methods, and metadata. As a result, the code becomes smaller and optimized and takes less time to compile.
2. It protects the authenticity of code. Nobody would want his brainstormed piece of creation to be reversed engineered or used in bits and pieces by other programmers. While one cannot prevent reverse engineering, obfuscation makes code unreadable, thereby, protecting its files.
3. Obfuscation can be used to trace the origin of unauthorized copies of code. Suppose a programmer supplies his clients with different obfuscated versions of his program. If he finds an illicit copy, the author can trace back that source of piracy by comparing that duplicate copy with the versions supplied.
A final word:-
Obfuscation is necessary. Be it for .net code protect or the privacy of a database table; this software helps to keep a piece of code safe and free from forgery.
Therefore, programmers who want to ensure that their creations are not copied or duplicated; they should start using reliable obfuscator tools today.