From Obfuscation to Comprehension

Eran Avidan, Dror G. Feitelson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Code obfuscation techniques are widely used in industry to increase protection of source code and intellectual property. The idea is that even if attackers gain hold of source code, it will be hard for them to understand what it does and how. Thus obfuscation techniques are specifically targeted at human comprehension of code. We suggest that the ideas and experience embedded in obfuscations can be used to learn about comprehension. In particular, we survey known obfuscation techniques and use them in an attempt to derive metrics for code (in) comprehensibility. This leads to emphasis on issues such as identifier naming, which are typically left on the sidelines in discussions of code comprehension, and motivates increased efforts to measure their effect.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2015 IEEE 23rd International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2015
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781467381598
StatePublished - 5 Aug 2015
Event23rd IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2015 - Florence, Italy
Duration: 18 May 201519 May 2015

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension


Conference23rd IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 IEEE.


  • Code complexity metrics
  • Code obfuscation
  • Program comprehension


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