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Abstract

Nowadays mobile applications have moved to mainstream. Service companies such as IBM advise us to develop on the “Mobile First”. Although earlier mobile apps were simple data access front ends, today’s apps are quite complex. Therefore the same problem of code maintenance and comprehension of poorly documented apps, as in the desktop world, happen to the mobile today. Hence we need techniques to reverse engineer mobile applications starting from the mere source code. In this paper we present the methodology and suite of tools we developed that helps with the reverse engineering and understanding of mobile apps. The performance of these tools is demonstrated on two case studies of iPhone applications. The contribution of the paper is to show how dynamic analysis techniques can be applied to mobile applications and the techniques we develop to make educated guesses about the role and structure of the classes that make up the app.

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