Is there any linux command to extracts all the ascii strings from an executable or other binary file? I suppose I could do it with a grep, but I remember hearing somewhere that such a command existed?
The command you are looking for is
Its name is quite self-explanatory, it retrieves any printable string from a given file.
man strings gives:
strings - find the printable strings in a object, or other binary, file
strings [ - ] [ -a ] [ -o ] [ -t format ] [ -number ] [ -n number ] [--] [file ...]
The strings command is the way to go for this particular type of problems. Sometimes you also have to pipe it out to grep.
strings somebinaryfile | grep textuwanttofind
The command does exist, and is called.... strings!
The od command can do this:
od -c *filename*
A problem with using strings is that you don't see surrounding non printables and you have to be careful with the minimum string length.
A problem using
od -c FILEor
hexdump -C FILEis that a sequence can be difficult to find if it wraps a line.
Something I like a lot for this is ZTreeWin running in WINE on Linux - you can do a lot with it but the searching in any file or editing binaries can be particularly useful.
The awesome ytree package is available for many Linux and Unix variants and has a good Hex dump view of any file but doesn't have the search that ZTreeWin (and its 16bit predecessor, XTree) have.