10 Best IDA PRO Alternatives for reverse engineering in 2019

Best ida alternatives

Looking for an alternative for IDA Pro? If yes, then this post is for you. IDA Pro is a paid disassembler of the company Hex-Rays and is a very powerful Software Reversing Engineering(SRE) tool which can be used to do reverse engineering and/or doing malware analysis of the various type of file formats on various type of processors. But all these features come at a very huge price. So, this post features some of the cheap alternatives & some even free, which can be used in place of IDA Pro. So, let’s discuss some of the best IDA Pro alternatives-:

Ghidra

Ghidra is probably one of the best alternatives to IDA Pro. It is COMPLETELY FREE of cost and open source Software Reversing Engineering(SRE) tool developed by the NSA. Ghidra is a very powerful tool written in Java and C++. It supports the following main architectures-:

  • 32(x86) and 64 bit
  • ARM and AARCH64
  • MIPS
  • Java
  • DEX(Android)
  • 8051

You can download Ghidra’s latest version here.

Pros-:

  • Fully free & open source
  • Supports both 32 & 64-bit files
  • User-friendly interface

Cons-:

  • Currently very new, compared to competitors
  • Developed by NSA, so Blinkers ON

IDA Free

ida_pro

This may sound hilarious, but yes if you are a beginner and can’t afford to use IDA Pro then you can use IDA Free version which can be downloaded here. It is best for beginners who are starting their journey to get the feel of using the sophisticated debugger. Although IDA Free has some serious limitations over IDA Pro, it is still worth a shot.

Pros-:

  • Completely free(as the name suggest)

Cons-:

  • Debugging not allowed
  • IDAPython feature not present
  • No commercial usage allowed
  • Lacks many popular processors
  • No technical support

X64dbg

x64dbg

X64dbg is just like a 64-bit version of Ollydbg. It is an open source debugger which can decompile 32 bit and 64 bits of exe files. X64dbg is developed by Mr. Exodia. You can download its latest version by clicking here.

Pros-:

  • Fully free & open source
  • Supports both 32 & 64-bit files
  • User-friendly interface

Cons-:

  • Only meant for windows
  • A quite nascent tool as compared to others

ALSO READ-: Click to view Beginner friendly x64dbg Reverse Engineering tutorial.

Ollydbg

ollydbg

Ollydbg is a free windows debugger developed by Oleh Yuschuk. It is 32-bit debugger which can decompile and debug EXE and DLL files. It is a dynamic debugger i.e it allows the user to modify the source code while running the program.

Pros-:

  • Shareware but FREE to use
  • Very Powerful dynamic debugger
  • Quite easy to use as compared to IDA
  • Allows you to directly load & debug DLLs
  • A lot of Plugins & Scripts available to automate the work

Cons-:

  • Works only for  Microsoft® Windows®
  • Meant only for x86(or 32 bit) software
  • It is not meant for static debugging

Windbg

Windbg(also known as Windows Debugger) is a kernel mode debugger for Windows, by Microsoft. It is a Kernel Mode i.e Ring 0 debugger which can be used for debugging User Mode programs or device drivers. It is Free of cost as compared to IDA Pro which is very costly. But it is not very user-friendly, especially for beginners.

Pros-:

  • Completely Free
  • Powerful Kernel level debugger

Cons-:

  • Not very user-friendly interface especially for newbies
  • It only supports the Windows platform
  • It is not a Ring 3 debugger so you cannot debug normal apps with it

Binary-Ninja

Binary Ninja is a highly popular Static debugger which is used for analyzing binary files. It has a beautiful GUI and can also show Control flow graphs of binaries. Binary Ninja’s Free(Demo) version can be downloaded here which is enough to get the feel of it. Its plugins can be found on Github.

Pros-:

  • Cross-platform support: Windows, Linux and OS X
  • Price effective alternative to IDA Pro
  • Beautiful GUI

Cons-:

  • Many restrictions like plugins, saving of database & support is not allowed in a Free version

Evan’s Debugger

Evan’s Debugger is an open source Linux debugger, inspired by Ollydbg. It supports AArch32, x86, and x86-64. In the future, it is intended to support FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OSX, and Windows. Currently, it supports Linux only. Its source can be found on Github. It supports Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian Linux distributions.

Hopper Disassembler

Hopper is a disassembler and a debugger specially meant for Windows, Linux, iOS and Mac OS. It can be a cheap alternative for IDA Pro. Hopper is capable of showing Assembly code and Pseudo code at the same time. So, it is best for static analysis.

However, its free demo version has many limitations like saving, exporting modified binaries are not allowed and many others. Also in its demo version, each session is limited to 30 minutes only. It priced at $99 per personal license, which is a way more cheaper than IDA Pro.

JEB Decompiler

JEB Decompiler is developed by PNF Software. It is apk decompiler & disassembler i.e it is meant for Android so, it can’t be a complete replacement of IDA. It is a very powerful apk decompiler as compared to other alternatives.

Pros-:

  • Very powerful android disassembler & decompiler
  • Reconstruct obfuscated XML files & resources
  • Can automate the process by using scripts

Cons-:

  • It can only decompile apk files only

Radare2

Radare is a portable reverse engineering framework which contains many different tools to provide assistance during the process. It supports various operating systems like Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, Solaris, etc. You can download its latest version by clicking here.

Pros-:

  • It is a complete package for reverse engineering
  • Supports almost all major OSes

Cons-:

  • It is not generally suitable for complete beginners

Conclusion

In my honest opinion, Ghidra is one of the best alternatives to IDA Pro as it is completely Free and open source. It is also quite as powerful as IDA Pro and supports various file formats to reverse engineer. On the flip side is not quite as user-friendly as ollydbg or x64dbg for beginners. If you are a newbie then I would recommend you should start with ollydbg or x64dbg as they are far more easy to use than IDA or Ghidra. Hope this post helps you. Want to share your experience or ask a question? Leave a comment below.

Have a nice day!

error4hack

Hi, this is error4hack, a computer geek who loves to learn new things(mostly by trial & error method) & then loves to share that knowledge with others. He also likes to listen to music in his free time. He strongly believes in KISS(Keep It Simple Stupid) principle. Youtube channel-: https://www.youtube.com/c/eRRor4hack

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I love what you wrote! Great information and keep up the good work. Maybe I can give something back that fair