Software:Binary Ninja

From HandWiki
Short description: Reverse-engineering platform developed by Vector 35 Inc
Binary Ninja
Original author(s)Jordan Wiens, Rusty Wagner, Peter LaFosse
Developer(s)Vector 35 Inc[1]
Initial releaseJuly 31, 2016; 7 years ago (2016-07-31)[2]
Stable release
2.4.2846 / June 3, 2021; 2 years ago (2021-06-03)[2]
Written inC++, C, Python
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
Available inEnglish
TypeReverse Engineering, Disassembler, Decompiler

Binary Ninja is a reverse-engineering platform developed by Vector 35 Inc.[1] It can disassemble a binary and display the disassembly in linear or graph views. It performs automated in-depth analysis of the code, generating information that helps to analyze a binary. It lifts the instructions into intermediate languages, and eventually generates the decompiled code.

Binary Ninja supports various CPU architectures and binary executable formats. It runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It also has a free-to-use cloud version.[3]


Binary Ninja was originally an internal tool[4] for a CTF team. The developers later decided to form Vector 35 Inc and develop Binary Ninja into a commercial product. The development started in 2015 and the first public version was released in July 2016.

The commercial product does not share code[4] with the internal tool. The latter one is now open-sourced[5] under GPLv2.

Features and usage

User Interface

Binary Ninja's UI is built on top of Qt. Its main UI comprises a symbol list, a cross-reference window, a linear/graph view of the disassembly, a mini-graph, as well as a feature map. It can also show a hex editor, strings listing, and a triage view.

Binary Ninja generates extensive annotations in the UI to assist binary analysis.

Binary Ninja also supports user-defined themes.[6]

API and plugins

Binary Ninja offers an API[7] that can be accessed via Python or C. The API is open-sourced[8] under MIT License. It can interact with most of the Binary Ninja's functionality, e.g., user interface, analysis, IL (see below), etc. It can be used to add support for new architecture or automate tasks.

Plugins[9] can be made via the API to enhance Binary Ninja. Vector35 maintains a collection of official plugins,[10] while the community has created numerous community plugins.[11]

Some notable plugins are the debugger,[12] the signature kit,[13] etc.

Binary Ninja intermediate languages (BNIL)

Binary Ninja offers three intermediate languages (ILs).

  • The low-lowel IL (LLIL)[14] is a verbose lifting of the underlying instructions from various architectures to a unified representation.
  • The medium-level IL (MLIL)[15] creates variables with types and removes the notion of the stack.
  • The high-level IL (HLIL, also called decompiler) offers a representation of the code that is similar to C source code.

Core analysis

Binary Ninja automatically performs various analysis on the binary. Some examples are:

  • function detection
  • cross-references for code and data
  • type inference
  • constant propagation
  • value-set analysis
  • jump table resolution

Binary editing and patching, shellcode compiler (SCC)

Binary Ninja offers a convenient way to edit and patch a binary. It can assemble an instruction at the current line, flip a conditional jump, etc. Edits and updated analysis are immediately reflected in the UI.

Besides, Binary Ninja can be used as a general binary editor. It supports several commonly-used transformations and encryption algorithms.

The shellcode compiler allows the user to compile and insert code via C syntax.

Supported architectures and executable file formats


Binary Ninja supports the following CPU architectures officially:

  • x86 32-bit
  • x86 64-bit
  • ARMv7
  • Thumb2
  • ARMv8
  • PowerPC
  • MIPS
  • 6502

The support for these architectures vary and details can be found in the official FAQ.[16]

Besides, the community also made several architecture plugins[17] that support various other architectures.

Executable file formats

Binary Ninja supports the following executable file formats officially:

  • ELF
  • Mach-O
  • .NES binary (via a plugin)
  • Raw binary

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Vector 35 > home". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Inc, Vector 35. "Binary Ninja > Binary Ninja > changelog" (in en). 
  3. "Binary Ninja Cloud" (in en). 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Binary Ninja > Frequently Asked Questions". 
  5. Vector35/deprecated-binaryninja-python, VECTOR 35, 2020-07-12,, retrieved 2020-07-26 
  6. Vector35/community-themes, VECTOR 35, 2020-07-09,, retrieved 2020-07-26 
  7. "Binary Ninja Python API Documentation — Binary Ninja API Documentation v2.1". 
  8. Vector35/binaryninja-api, VECTOR 35, 2020-07-22,, retrieved 2020-07-26 
  9. "Using and Writing Plugins - Binary Ninja User Documentation". 
  10. Vector35/official-plugins, VECTOR 35, 2020-07-16,, retrieved 2020-07-26 
  11. "Using and Writing Plugins - Binary Ninja User Documentation". 
  12. Vector35/debugger, VECTOR 35, 2020-07-25,, retrieved 2020-07-26 
  13. Vector35/sigkit, VECTOR 35, 2020-07-14,, retrieved 2020-07-26 
  14. "BNIL Guide: LLIL - Binary Ninja User Documentation". 
  15. "BNIL Guide: MLIL - Binary Ninja User Documentation". 
  16. "Binary Ninja > Frequently Asked Questions". 
  17. Vector35/community-plugins, VECTOR 35, 2020-07-22,, retrieved 2020-07-26