February 7, 2023

ESET Analysis declares IPyIDA 2.0, a Python plugin integrating IPython and Jupyter Pocket book into IDA

IDA Pro from Hex-Rays might be the preferred software right now for reverse-engineering software program. For ESET researchers, this software is a favourite disassembler and has impressed the event of the IPyIDA plugin that embeds an IPython kernel into IDA Professional. Below steady improvement since 2014, we’re happy to announce the discharge of model 2.0. IPyIDA serves an analogous objective as one other plugin known as IDA IPython, however with a twist: whereas IDA IPython solely helps Home windows, IPyIDA helps macOS, Linux, and Home windows.

In case you are already acquainted with IDA Professional and IPython, then skip to the last section of this text on IPyIDA. In case you are unfamiliar with IPython, then skip to the middle section. Lastly, if you happen to would recognize a quick introduction to IDA Professional, then learn on.

What’s IDA Professional?

IDA Professional is a disassembler that interprets machine code to meeting code. After loading a file, IDA Professional disassembles it and shops the evaluation in database information. IDA Professional offers varied home windows into the database, every uniquely serving to the researcher discover and higher perceive the code of curiosity.

Let’s have a look at a couple of of those home windows by loading the MathLibrary.dll file, which may be constructed with Microsoft’s tutorial on creating a DLL file.

Output window

The Output window shows messages concerning the standing of the evaluation of a file, error messages for user-requested operations, and the output from some plugins. Determine 1 reveals the Output window after first loading MathLibrary.dll.

Determine 1. The IDA Output window

On the backside of this window is an enter discipline that accepts instructions. Determine 2 reveals the 2 default command language suppliers shipped with IDA since model 7.3: IDC for instructions written in a C-like language native to IDA and the IDAPython plugin for instructions written in Python.

Determine 2. The enter discipline to sort Python instructions in IDA

IDA View window

The IDA View window, also called the disassembly window, has two show codecs: graph view and textual content view. Graph view visualizes this system circulation by dividing capabilities into blocks with a single entry and a single exit level. Determine 3 reveals graph view.

Determine 3. The IDA disassembly graph view

Textual content view offers a linear view of the disassembly that shows digital addresses, meeting code, and feedback. Determine 4 reveals textual content view.

Determine 4. The IDA disassembly textual content view

Along with these and the various different home windows that IDA offers, IDA means that you can write customized plugins that stretch its options and remedy sensible reverse-engineering issues. Let’s flip to IPython and a few engaging options it presents reverse engineers who use Python scripts in IDA.

A look at IPython

Whereas IDAPython serves the essential wants for working Python scripts and instructions in IDA, Python lovers have been gripped by IPython fever. IPython is a toolkit that gives a extra interactive expertise with Python. IPython makes use of a two-process mannequin consisting of a kernel and a shopper. The kernel is a course of that receives instructions from the shopper, executes them, and returns the outcomes. The shopper may be any interactive console akin to Jupyter Console, Jupyter Qt Console, or Jupyter Notebook.

The interactive nature of those shoppers comes from the host of options that they add to the basic Python shell. Determine 5 reveals utilizing a multiline code block to outline a perform in IPython.

Determine 5. Utilizing a multiline code block to outline a perform in IPython

Discover the syntax highlighting of integers, key phrases, built-in capabilities, and strings.

By urgent the Tab key, IPython offers a listing of related attributes, objects, or capabilities that may full the code. Determine 6 reveals tab completion itemizing capabilities related to a string object.

Determine 6. Tab completion in IPython

Tab completion is richer if Jedi is put in.

IPython additionally offers magic capabilities, that are capabilities which can be sometimes known as with a % or %% prefix and take arguments with a command-line-style syntax. Determine 7 reveals the %timeit magic perform, which instances the execution of a Python expression.

Determine 7. A magic perform in IPython

By utilizing the ! character originally of a command line, the IPython console passes the command to the underlying system shell to be run. For instance, a preferred command is pip, which installs and manages packages from the Python Package Index (PyPi). Determine 8 reveals the !pip command being run from IPython.

Determine 8. Operating system shell instructions from IPython

IPython offers many extra interactive options that may be explored within the official documentation.

IPyIDA: Bringing IPython to IDA

With the discharge of IPyIDA 2.0, writing Python scripts in IDA is extra pleasant due to the next benefits:

Determine 9 reveals the method of opening a Jupyter Pocket book from IPyIDA.

Determine 9. The %open_notebook magic perform in IPyIDA

Determine 10 reveals a Jupyter Console working in a terminal session outdoors IDA connecting to the IPython kernel in IDA.

Determine 10. A Jupyter Console outdoors IDA connecting again to the IPython kernel in IDA

The selection of the Jupyter Qt Console for IPyIDA brings extra interactive options to the normal IPython console, akin to inline graphics, saving and printing of the present session, and full syntax highlighting. These are illustrated within the official documentation for the Jupyter Qt Console.

IPyIDA even offers its personal interactive options impressed by IDA. Determine 11 reveals that Ctrl-clicking (Cmd-clicking on macOS) on addresses or variable names within the IPython console jumps the view to the digital tackle within the disassembly window.

Determine 11. Ctrl-clicking a variable or tackle in IPyIDA jumps to the tackle in IDA’s disassembly window

Determine 12 reveals a hex dump for a byte array with non-ASCII content material.

Determine 12. IPyIDA shows hex dumps

In case you are new to IDA Professional, IPyIDA is a big help to changing into acquainted with the IDA API. In case you are a veteran, IPyIDA makes Python scripting a lot simpler, and thus the time spent reverse engineering hopefully extra centered and fruitful.