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Learn Ghidra with online courses and programs

The United States National Security Agency (NSA) developed Ghidra, an open-source reverse engineering tool, that is utilized in cybersecurity careers. You can learn Ghidra reverse engineering through an online Ghidra tutorial delivered through edX.

What is Ghidra?

Developed by the National Security Agency, Ghidra is a free, open-source framework reverse engineering tool used by the agency itself, as well as other businesses and organizations for cybersecurity purposes.Footnote 1 What is reverse engineering? It’s the process of deconstructing an object or piece of software to extract design information so you can recreate it.Footnote 2 In cybersecurity, reverse engineering facilitates malware analysis. 

With Ghidra training, a cybersecurity analyst can use reverse engineering to understand how malware works and identify software vulnerabilities. Ghidra enables information security analysts to analyze malware code and functionality to map out its actions.Footnote 3 Since Ghidra is a disassembly tool, there’s no impact to the analysis device when someone’s using Ghidra to analyze malware. 

Ghidra enables users to analyze code using Java or Python. Users can use Ghidra for disassembly, assembly, graphing, scripting, decompilation, and other functions. Users can also access the tool’s source code and see updates on GitHub.Footnote 4 As a framework, Ghidra saves time and provides up-to-date analysis for the user. 

Ghidra | Introduction Image

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Ghidra tutorial curriculum

Some Ghidra courses may recommend prior experience with reverse engineering operating systems, such as Linux or Windows, while others may suggest having a background in programming languages like C/C++. 

Ghidra tutorial curricula will vary, but topics you may cover include how to: 

  • Execute reverse engineering best practices.

  • Disassemble programs into assembly code.

  • Analyze software without access to source code.

  • Decompile programs to C code.

  • Do static analysis.

  • Identify program entry points.

  • Analyze Linux and Windows binaries.

  • Use function graphs.

Completing Ghidra training can help you build the knowledge needed for reverse engineering tasks. Explore the range of learning opportunities available through edX, from full degree programs to specialized boot camps

Jobs that use Ghidra

Information technology jobs that deal with cybersecurity may require a skill set that includes Ghidra knowledge. Some positions that might require Ghidra expertise include:

  • Information security analyst: Information security analysts monitor networks for security breaches, check for vulnerabilities, and recommend security enhancements.Footnote 5

  • Software engineer: Software engineers plan software development scopes and may lead developers, analysts, and testers to execute software requirements.Footnote 6

  • Cybersecurity consultant: Cybersecurity consultants work with businesses to secure their information technology systems. They help organizations identify cybersecurity programs, protect information, and build security around risks. 

The formal education required for positions like these may range from a bachelor’s degree in computer science to a master’s degree in engineering. Information technology professionals can also develop their skills with intensive cybersecurity boot camps. It's important to research the roles you hope to pursue before setting down a specific learning path. 

Ghidra knowledge may also be useful in related roles, like computer and information research scientist, database administrator, or computer systems analyst. Leaders who manage cybersecurity professionals may benefit from knowing Ghidra, as well. 

Performing malware analysis with Ghidra

Cybersecurity professionals can use Ghidra to decompile deployed software to reveal its structure, set of commands, and logic. Through this reverse engineering process, malware analysts can understand how software works, what the malware’s capabilities are, where the malware came from, or who wrote it. 

Once a user has installed the software, they can create a project and drag malware samples into the project. Ghidra can then analyze the file and prepare it for the reverse engineering process. Users can see:Footnote 7

  • Sections of the malware

  • The imports, exports, and functions the malware is using

  • The entry point of the malware

  • Decisions made by the malware

  • The flow the malware takes based on certain conditions

Ghidra also helps cybersecurity experts check their own software code to identify vulnerabilities. The user-friendliness of Ghidra simplifies reverse engineering and makes the process accessible to a range of information technology experts with varying levels of experience.