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Security Portal: Hex Editors: A Security Tool

Dec 10, 2000, 16:12 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ronald L. Mendell)

"A hex editor is a software tool that enables you to read most files stored on a PC. Since information resides on a computer as a series of ones and zeroes (binary data), it becomes easier to read as data in hexadecimal (base 16) format, which is composed of Arabic numerals and alpha characters. For example, 6F72 is 28530 in decimal...."

"And, the editor's screen would have three sections. The center section contains the actual Hex code as above. A left section would give the memory address for each line of hex. Then, a right section would give the equivalent ASCII text for the Hex code. Probably your reaction is that all this information is interesting, but what does it have to do with computer security?"

"To answer that question, examining the additional capabilities of the hex editor becomes important.

1.It can directly edit sectors on your hard drive or floppy disk.
2.Find and replace hex, bitmasks, decimal, or ASCII values.
3.Compare differences in files.
4.Calculate checksums and digests.
5.Print hex dumps."

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