The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law clinics, answers the question, What stages are involved in the reverse engineering process?
The second stage, disassembly or decompilation of the original product, is the most time-consuming aspect of the project. In this stage, reverse engineers attempt to construct a characterization of the system by accumulating all of the technical data and instructions of how the product works.
In the third stage of reverse engineering, reverse engineers try to verify that the data generated by disassembly or decompilation is an accurate reconstruction the original system. Engineers verify the accuracy and validity of their designs by testing the system, creating prototypes, and experimenting with the results.
The final stage of the reverse engineering process is the introduction of a new product into the marketplace. These new products are often innovations of the original product with competitive designs, features, or capabilities. These products may also be adaptations of the original product for use with other integrated systems, such as different platforms of computer operating systems.
Often different groups of engineers perform each step separately, using only documents to exchange the information learned at each step. This is to prevent duplication of the original technology, which may violate copyright. By contrast, reverse engineering creates a different implementation with the same functionality.
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