What is the difference between CISC/RISC when reverse engineering a binary?

I know the difference between them, but is there any difference while reversing? Is it easier to reverse CISC than RISC?

1 Answer 1


It's usually easier to distinguish between data and code or detect pointers to code on RISC processor because RISC instruction has a fixed (or very much less variable) length as opposite to CISC. It means, for example, that RISC functions addresses are usually aligned to largest instruction size.

Based on comparison of architectures I worked with( Risc: (MIPS, PPC, ARM, aarch64), Cisc: (Intel)) I'd say that CISC itself is more complicated, which makes reversing of programs for it more complicated.

  • Yep, I guess it's a matter of taste, really. And how often you do one or the other. RISC obviously uses more instructions to achieve the same, but once you get acquainted to the patterns it becomes second nature. The point about telling apart data and code is well made.
    – 0xC0000022L
    Dec 16, 2019 at 9:00

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