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BinExport

Copyright 2011-2023 Google LLC.

Linux Build Status Coverity Scan Build Status

Disclaimer: This is not an official Google product (experimental or otherwise), it is just code that happens to be owned by Google.

Table of Contents

Introduction

BinExport is the exporter component of BinDiff. It is a plugin/extension for the the disassemblers IDA Pro, Binary Ninja and Ghidra that exports disassembly data into the Protocol Buffer format that BinDiff requires.

An experimental version for the open source software reverse engineering suite Ghidra is available in the java/BinExport directory.

This repository contains the complete source code necessary to build BinExport plugin binaries for Linux, macOS and Windows.

Installation

IDA Pro

Download the binaries from the releases page and copy them into the IDA Pro plugins directory. These are the default paths:

OS Plugin path
Linux /opt/idapro-8.2/plugins
macOS /Applications/IDA Pro 8.2/idabin/plugins
Windows %ProgramFiles%\IDA 8.2\plugins

To install just for the current user, copy the files into one of these directories instead:

OS Plugin
Linux/macOS ~/.idapro/plugins
Windows %AppData%\Hex-Rays\IDA Pro\plugins

Verifying the installation version

  1. In IDA, select Help|About programm...

  2. Click Addons...

  3. If installed correctly, the following dialog box appears:

    IDA addons dialog

Binary Ninja

Download the binaries from the releases page and copy them into the Binary Ninja plugins directory. These are the default paths for the current user:

OS Plugin path
Linux ~/.binaryninja/plugins
macOS ~/Library/Application Support/Binary Ninja/plugins/
Windows %AppData%\Binary Ninja\plugins

Verifying the installation version

  1. Start Binary Ninja
  2. Select the Log native dock. If this is not visible, enable it via View|Native Docks|Show Log.
  3. If installed correctly, the log window contains a line similar to this one:
BinExport 12 (@internal, Jan 3 2023), (c)2004-2011 zynamics GmbH, (c)2011-2023 Google LLC.

Ghidra

  1. Download the binaries from the releases page.
  2. Start Ghidra, select File|Install Extensions...
  3. In the "Install Extensions" dialog, click the plus icon in the upper right to "Add extension".
  4. In the "Select extension" dialog, enter the path to the ghidra_BinExport.zip you downloaded in step 1 and click OK.
  5. Click OK twice to close both the "Install Extensions" dialog and the notice to restart Ghidra.
  6. Exit Ghidra.

Verifying the installation version

  1. Start Ghidra
  2. Select File|Install Extensions...
  3. If installed correctly, the "Install Extensions" dialog should list the "BinExport" extension next to a selected checkbox.

Usage

The main use case is via BinDiff. However, BinExport can also be used to export disassembly into different formats:

  • Protocol Buffer based full export
  • Statistics text file
  • Text format for debugging

IDA Pro

  1. Open an IDA Pro database

  2. Select Edit|Plugins|BinExport 12

  3. The following dialog box appears:

    BinExport plugin dialog

  4. Select the type of the file to be exported

IDC Scripting

The BinExport plugin registers the IDC functions below.

IDC Function name Exports to Arguments
BinExportBinary Protocol Buffer filename
BinExportText Text file dump filename
BinExportStatistics Statistics text file filename

Alternatively, the plugin can be invoked from IDC by calling its main function directly:

static main() {
  batch(0);
  auto_wait();
  load_and_run_plugin("binexport12_ida", 2 /* kBinary */);
  qexit(0);
}

Note that this does provide any control over the output filename. BinExport will always use the filename of the currently loaded database (without extension) and append ".BinExport".

IDAPython

The arguments are the same as for IDC (listed above).

Example invocation of one of the registered IDC functions:

import idaapi
idaapi.ida_expr.eval_idc_expr(None, ida_idaapi.BADADDR,
  'BinExportBinary("exported.BinExport");')

Plugin Options

BinExport defines the following plugin options, that can be specified on IDA's command line:

Option Description
-OBinExportAutoAction:<ACTION> Invoke a BinExport IDC function and exit
-OBinExportModule:<PARAM> Argument for BinExportAutoAction
-OBinExportLogFile:<FILE> Log messages to a file
-OBinExportAlsoLogToStdErr:TRUE If specified, also log to standard error
-OBinExportX86NoReturnHeuristic:TRUE Enable the X86-specific heuristic to identify non-returning functions

Note: These options must come before any files.

Binary Ninja

There is only minimal integration into the Binary Ninja UI at this time.

  1. Open or create a new analysis database
  2. Select Tools|Plugins|BinExport. This will start the export process.

The .BinExport file is placed next to the analysis database, in the same directory.

Ghidra

There is only minimal integration into the Ghidra UI at this time.

  1. Open or create a project. For new projects, import a file first using File|Import File...
  2. Right-click a file in the current project list and select Export... from the context menu.
  3. In the "Export" dialog, under "Format", choose "Binary Export (v2) for BinDiff".
  4. Under "Output File", enter the desired output file path. If the file extension is missing, .BinExport will be appended automatically.
  5. Optional: click "Options..." to set additional export options.
  6. Click "OK", then click "OK" again to dismiss the "Export Results Summary" dialog.

How to build

Below are build instructions for the native code plugins for IDA Pro and Binary Ninja. To build the Java-based extension for Ghidra, please refer to the BinExport for Ghidra instructions.

Preparing the build environment

There are quite a few dependencies to satisfy:

  • Boost 1.71.0 or higher (a partial copy of 1.71.0 ships in third_party/boost_parts)
  • CMake 3.14 or higher
  • Suggested: Ninja for speedy builds
  • GCC 9 or a recent version of Clang on Linux/macOS. On Windows, use the Visual Studio 2019 compiler and the Windows SDK for Windows 10.
  • Git 1.8 or higher
  • IDA Pro only: IDA SDK 7.6 or higher (unpack into third_party/idasdk)
  • Dependencies that will be downloaded:
    • Abseil, GoogleTest and Protocol Buffers (3.21)
    • Binary Ninja SDK

Linux

Prerequisites

The preferred build environment is Debian testing (version 10, "Buster").

This should install all the necessary packages:

sudo apt update -qq
sudo apt install -qq --no-install-recommends build-essential

Install the latest stable version of CMake:

wget https://github.com/Kitware/CMake/releases/download/v3.25.1/cmake-3.25.1-linux-x86_64.sh
mkdir ${HOME}/cmake
sh cmake-3.25.1-Linux-x86_64.sh --prefix=${HOME}/cmake --exclude-subdir
export PATH=${HOME}/cmake/bin:${PATH}

The following sections assume that your current working directory is at the root of the cloned repository.

IDA SDK

Unzip the contents of the IDA SDK into third_party/idasdk. Shown commands are for IDA 7.6:

unzip PATH/TO/idasdk76.zip -d third_party/idasdk
mv third_party/idasdk/idasdk76/* third_party/idasdk
rmdir third_party/idasdk/idasdk76

Build BinExport

With all prerequisites in place, configure and build BinExport and run its tests:

mkdir -p build_linux && cd build_linux
cmake .. \
    -G Ninja \
    -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release \
    "-DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=${PWD}" \
    -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_IDAPRO=ON \
    "-DIdaSdk_ROOT_DIR=${PWD}/../third_party/idasdk" \
    -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_BINARYNINJA=ON \
cmake --build . --config Release
ctest --build-config Release --output-on-failure
cmake --install . --config Release --strip

Note: If you don't want to use Ninja to perform the actual build, omit the -G Ninja part.

To disable the IDA Pro build, set -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_IDAPRO=OFF. Likewise, to disable the Binary Ninja build, set -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_BINARYNINJA=OFF.

This will download and build Abseil, GoogleTest, Protocol Buffers and the Binary Ninja API. If all went well, the build_linux/binexport-prefix directory should contain two the files binexport12_ida.so and binexport12_ida64.so (for use with ida and ida64, respectively) as well as binexport12_binaryninja.so (for Binary Ninja).

macOS

Prerequisites

The preferred build environment is macOS 12 "Monterey" using Xcode 14. Using macOS 13 "Ventura" should also work.

After installing the Developer Tools, make sure to install the command-line tools as well:

sudo xcode-select --install

The following sections assume that your current working directory is at the root of the cloned repository.

CMake

Download the latest stable version of CMake from the official site and mount its disk image:

curl -fsSL https://github.com/Kitware/CMake/releases/download/v3.25.1/cmake-3.25.1-Darwin-x86_64.dmg \
    -o $HOME/Downloads/cmake-osx.dmg
hdiutil attach $HOME/Downloads/cmake-osx.dmg

At this point you will need to review and accept CMake's license agreement. Now install CMake:

sudo cp -Rf /Volumes/cmake-3.25.1-Darwin-x86_64/CMake.app /Applications/
hdiutil detach /Volumes/cmake-3.25.1-Darwin-x86_64
sudo /Applications/CMake.app/Contents/bin/cmake-gui --install

The last command makes CMake available in the system path.

IDA SDK

Unzip the contents of the IDA SDK into third_party/idasdk. Shown commands are for IDA 7.6:

unzip PATH/TO/idasdk76.zip -d third_party/idasdk
mv third_party/idasdk/idasdk76/* third_party/idasdk
rmdir third_party/idasdk/idasdk76

Build BinExport

With all prerequisites in place, configure and build BinExport and run its tests:

mkdir -p build_mac && cd build_mac
cmake .. \
    -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release \
    "-DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=${PWD}" \
    -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_IDAPRO=ON \
    "-DIdaSdk_ROOT_DIR=${PWD}/../third_party/idasdk" \
    -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_BINARYNINJA=ON \
cmake --build . --config Release -- "-j$(sysctl -n hw.logicalcpu)"
ctest --build-config Release --output-on-failure
cmake --install . --config Release --strip

Note: This will use the standard CMake "Makefile Generator". You can use XCode or Ninja as generators as well.

To disable the IDA Pro build, set -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_IDAPRO=OFF. Likewise, to disable the Binary Ninja build, set -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_BINARYNINJA=OFF.

This will download and build Abseil, GoogleTest, Protocol Buffers and the Binary Ninja API. If all went well, the build_mac/binexport-prefix directory should contain two the files binexport12_ida.dylib and binexport12_ida64.dylib (for use with ida and ida64, respectively) as well as binexport12_binaryninja.dylib (for Binary Ninja).

Windows

The preferred build environment is Windows 10 (64-bit Intel) using the Visual Studio 2022 compiler and the Windows SDK for Windows 10.

CMake

Download and install the latest stable CMake (3.25.1 at the time of writing) from its download page. Make sure to select "Add CMake to the system PATH for all users".

Git

Download and install Git from its download page. Make sure to select the following options: * The installation directory should be left at the default %ProgramFiles%\Git\bin\git.exe * "Use Git from the Windows Command Prompt" - have the setup utility add Git to your system path. * "Use Windows' default console window" - to be able to use Git from the regular command prompt.

Prepare

The following sections assume an open command prompt with the current working directory located at the root of the cloned BinExport repository:

git clone https://github.com/google/binexport.git
cd binexport

IDA SDK

Unzip the contents of the IDA SDK into third_party/idasdk. Shown commands are for IDA 7.6, assuming that Git was installed into the default directory first:

"%ProgramFiles%\Git\usr\bin\unzip" PATH\TO\idasdk76.zip -d third_party
rename third_party\idasdk76 idasdk

Build BinExport

With all prerequisites in place, configure and build BinExport:

if not exist build_msvc mkdir build_msvc
cd build_msvc
cmake .. ^
    -G "Visual Studio 17 2022" ^
    -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ^
    "-DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=%cd%" ^
    -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_IDAPRO=ON ^
    -DIdaSdk_ROOT_DIR=%cd%\..\third_party\idasdk ^
    -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_BINARYNINJA=ON
cmake --build . --config Release -- /m /clp:NoSummary;ForceNoAlign /v:minimal
ctest --build-config Release --output-on-failure
cmake --install . --config Release --strip

Note: This will use the CMake "Visual Studio" generator. You can use the Ninja generator as well.

To disable the IDA Pro build, set -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_IDAPRO=OFF. Likewise, to disable the Binary Ninja build, set -DBINEXPORT_ENABLE_BINARYNINJA=OFF.

This will download and build Abseil, GoogleTest, Protocol Buffers and the Binary Ninja API. If all went well, the build_msvc/binexport-prefix directory should contain two the files binexport12_ida.dll and binexport12_ida64.dll (for use with ida.exe and ida64.exe, respectively) as well as binexport12_binaryninja.dll (for Binary Ninja).