Welcome to Part 7 of  of R4ndom’s tutorials on Reverse Engineering. This time, we will be cracking two crackmes; one to re-iterate last tutorial’s concepts, and one that we are going to have a little fun with :) In the download of this tutorial, you will find these two crackmes as well as the program “Resource Hacker” that we will be using on the second crackme. You can also download this tool on the tools page.

You can download the files and PDF version of this tutorial on the tutorials page.

Investigating the binary

Let’s jump right in. Load up canyou.exe (make sure the canyou.dll file is in the same place) into Olly:

Main Olly

As I have said before, one of the most important things you can do before getting started is running the app and studying it. It gives you a plethora of information; is there a time trial? Are certain features disabled? Are there a certain amount of times it can be run? Is there a registry screen that you can enter a registration code?

These are all really important things to know, and as you get better in reverse engineering, you will gain more and more experience as to what you should be looking for (how long did it take to validate the code? Is it forcing you to a web site?…)

When we run the app we get:

Run the App

and after entering some data we get:


You should know the drill by now. Click back in Olly and let’s seewhat strings we can find:

Search for Strings

and we see what ASCII this crackme has to offer:


Well, we obviously see a  couple of important ones here. The first thing we notice is that something MUST be entered into each field:

No empty fields

and then we see the really important stuff:


Lets double-click on one and see where we go:


This should start looking familiar: we have a bad boy, followed by a good boy, with a very obvious jump right before the bad boy, presumably jumping to the good boy. Also, I want you to notice that before the jump is a call to the Windows API lstrcmpi. If we right-click on that and choose “Help on symbolic name” we see:


As you can see, lstrcmp compares two strings. This function is Very Important in reverse engineering and you will see it over and over. It is used in many registration/password schemes to compare the string that the user entered against a string that the app either has hard-coded in or has created. If the string compare comes back zero, the user has entered the correct info, meaning the strings are the same. If it comes back non-zero, the strings don’t match. In the case of this crackme, our entered serial is probably checked against an internal or dynamically created string, and if EAX returns a zero, they are the same, otherwise they are not. Right know, Olly doesn’t know what these strings are going to be as we haven’t started the app and entered anything yet, but once we get going, Olly will replace the String1 = ”” and String2 = ”” lines with real strings. If we set a BP on the jump and then run the app, entering a serial (in this case “12121212121212121212″), Olly will show us the strings that will be compared:


If you look at the lines above our jump instruction you can see that our password was compared with the value “314216448336430″, whatever that is. On return, EAX will contain a zero if they were identical and anything else if they weren’t. Obviously, in this case, they are not going to match. The OR EAX, EAX is just a fancy way of finding out if EAX was zero or not, and if it is zero, the “JE SHORT canyou.0040129E” jumps to the good boy. I wanted to point this string compare routine out to you because in future tutorials, we will need to find out how this 15 digit number was created, and searching for lstrcmp can lead us to it’s creation.

But in the mean time, let’s do what we know. Set a BP on the JE instruction at line 401270 and re-start the app. Enter a username and serial and Olly will break on our BP:

Breakpoint hit

We notice by the grey arrow that Olly is not going to jump to the good boy and instead plans on falling through to the bad boy so let’s help him with that:

Zero flag and now Olly has it right:

Make the jump

Let’s run the app to make sure:

Good boy

Now lets…

Patch The App

This time we do not want to NOP out the jump as that would make the program show the bad boy every time. Instead, we want to GUARANTEE that it jumps every time, that way it jumps to our good boy message. So go to the the line our BP is on (you can open the “Breakpoint Window” and double-click on the BP if you’re lost) and let’s change the instruction. Make sure you click on the JE instruction and then hit the space bar:

Assembly Window

Again, notice that the highlighted instruction has been entered into our edit box. Now, let’s change this JE (Jump on Equal) to a JMP (always jump, no matter what):

Always jump

Click the Assemble button, and then the cancel button and you will see our change has been put in the code:

Instruction changed

No, let’s run the app and make sure it works:

App patched

Now let’s save this patch to disk. Remember, if you re-start the app you will have to re-enable the patch (Patch Window, highlight the patch and hit space bar), but since our app is still running, we can just click over to Olly, right click the disassembly window and choose “Copy to executable” -> “All modifications”:

Copy to executable

Choose “Save all” and our new memory process window will open (with our patch at the top of it):

New memory window

Now, let’s save it to disk…right click in this new window and click “Save File”. Save it as canyou_patched (or anything you want), load this new patched file back in to Olly  and run it. You actually don’t need to load it into Olly anymore if you don’t want as the patch has been saved to disk- you can just run it from wherever the crackme is. Just make sure you run the patched version :P . Now, no matter what name and serial you put in, you will get the good boy screen :)


Another Crackme

Let’s now load up the second program, Crackme8.exe and run it in Olly:

Main Crackme

Well, that certainly makes a point :0 Ummmm. After I enter my name and serial, which button do I press? Well, let me try one:

Entered Text

Now, Done usually means exit, so I’ll try the other one. And…………, it quits the app. Obviously I should have clicked Done (?). Regardless, let’s take this opportunity to modify this program and have some fun with it. Let’s change the buttons to a more meaningful “Check” and “Done”, or anything else you prefer ;) .


Using Resource Hacker

If you haven’t already, go ahead and install Resource Hacker. When you first run it, it looks like this:

Resource Hacker

Go ahead and load the Crackme8 file into Resource Hacker and you should notice a folder called Dialog with a plus sign next to it. Open up the plus and click the plus next to the next folder (103) and you should see something like this:

Opening pluses

Now click on the 1033 and it will populate the right pane with data about this dialog, as well as open a reference dialog showing what it looks like:

Reference Dialog

At the top of the right pane you can see some generic data about the window such as the font, the caption, the styles etc:

Top of data window

and underneath this you can see details about all of the elements in this dialog, including the “Name” and “Serial” labels and the two buttons. Let’s change this dialog to our own liking, shall we? First change the two button names to “Check” and “Exit”:

Change buttons Now, let’s change the caption at the top:

Change Caption

Now click the “Compile” button at the top and you will see our dialog update:

Updated Dialog

Well, that’s better. Let’s just save it (“File” -> “Save”) and load this new crackme into Olly (the original crackme was saved by Resource Hacker as Crackme8_original), and run it:

New dialog

Ah, that’s better. Now we can officially start…


Cracking The Program

You should know the drill by now. Let’s search for text strings:

Search for Text

There are two things we learn; 1) the serial must be a number between 1 and a gazillion and 2) we know where the good boy and bad boy messages are being generated. Lets go to the good boy message:

Familliar territory

and we double-click into familiar territory. We see the good boy routine beginning at 401131, and the bad boy starting at 40113D. We also see the jump (JE SHORT Crackme8.0040113D) at address 401131 and the compare (TEST EAX, EAX) at address 40112A. Let’s set our BP at address 40112F and run the app. Enter a name and serial and click “Check”. Olly will then break at our breakpoint:

Olly paused

We can see that, unaltered, Olly is going to jump past our good boy and straight to the bad boy. You know the routine…clear the zero flag and run the app:


And success. Now let’s quickly create a patch: Re-start the app, go to the breakpoint (through the breakpoint window), click once on the JE instruction and hit the space bar and NOP out the jump so that we always fall through to the good boy:


Hit “Assemble” then “Cancel. Right click and choose “Save to executable” -> “All modifications” and choose “copy all”. Right click in the new window and select “Save file” and save it. You now have a patched and resource-altered crackme that will take any serial number you put in and display the good boy message :)


Food For Thought

I wanted to just mention that Resource Hacker is a fun and very useful little program. It allows you to not only change many things in a file (strings, icons, labels, buttons, captions) but it also let’s you change many things in Windows itself (the START button, context menus, the computer’s ‘About’ dialog etc.) In fact, Resource Hacker is what I used to change all of the icons in my version of Olly!


-Till next time