View Full Version : Embeded language ?

06-12-2006, 11:03 PM
In 1998, six Tomahawk cruise missiles fired at Taliban bases in Afghanistan by US destroyers mis-fired and landed in Pakistan. It is speculated that Pakistan and China seized upon the opportunity to reverse-engineer the Tomahawk and develop its own copy, though no evidence exists for this. Pakistan could not have salvaged the embedded systems of the Tomahawks, since they are likely to be in classified programming languages.
I found it in wikipedia while looking for images of missiles.

1)The last sentence does'nt make sense 'cause after you compile any program written in any language you get the machine lnaguage right ? So when you decompile it you should get more or less the same assembly code. Right ???
And even if it is in a known language the reverse engineered code of a complex system will be highly obfuscated(?) right ?

2) And what does embedded sysytems mean ? May be thats what I missed...

Can someone clarify these for me?
Thanks in advance...

06-13-2006, 01:35 AM
Sounds like hogwash to me.

As you say, it's all asm in the end, so the source high level language is irrelevant.
However, you also need to know the instruction set of the processor as well, and if that itself is secret, then all those bytes you have won't mean a damn thing. Embedded processors are not usually your x86 or motorola jobs.

Oh, and the language was probably Ada, since the US DoD basically invented it, and mandated it's use for all defence programming.

Other factors in the way
- how much of the fragile electronics would survive a crash landing.
- if the program is stored in volatile memory, then it's gone when the power is lost. Unless they caught the missile in a net, it's not likely.
- some memory chips cannot be read (easily) with a PROM reader.
- if the processor and memory are on a single chip, then the program code never appears on an external bit of wire you can attach a probe to.

> 2) And what does embedded sysytems mean ?
Despite the previous, this wiki looks ok

06-13-2006, 02:37 AM
I tend to believe all that I read. Got to stop that