Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Gilbert L. Peterson, PhD


Reverse engineering is a time-consuming process essential to software-security tasks such as malware analysis and vulnerability discovery. During the process, an engineer will follow multiple leads to determine how the software functions. The combination of time and possible explanations makes it difficult for the engineers to maintain a context of their findings within the overall task. Analytic provenance tools have demonstrated value in similarly complex fields that require open-ended exploration and hypothesis vetting. However, they have not been explored in the reverse engineering domain. This dissertation presents SensorRE, the first analytic provenance tool designed to support software reverse engineers. A semi-structured interview with experts led to the design and implementation of the system. We describe the visual interfaces and their integration within an existing software analysis tool. SensorRE automatically captures user's sense making actions and provides a graph and storyboard view to support further analysis. User study results with both experts and graduate students demonstrate that SensorRE is easy to use and that it improved the participants' exploration process.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number