Assembly Basics


This article gives details about assembly programming for the Intel 8086 microprocessor. It also presents very clear details by providing example cases, definitions and syntax explanations on arithmetic instructions, logical instructions and operands.

Why study this topic? It’s important to understand the basic concepts of computer architecture, chip logic and memory management. People dealing with malware will also find it useful. Irrespective of the type of high-level language being used, before the code gets translated to machine code, it first must be translated into assembly language. This makes assembly language still important despite the evolution of high-level languages.

Assembly language

An assembly language is a low-level programming language designed for a specific type of hardware processor. This low-level language is developed using mnemonics. Prior to writing a program in assembly language, it is necessary to have sufficient knowledge of the hardware for the controller or processor. 

Figure 1

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Figure 2

The 8086 processor architecture 

As discussed on Elprocus, the architecture for the 8086 microprocessor is based on complex instruction set computing (CISC). This means the microprocessor has the capacity to perform multi-step operations or addressing modes within one instruction set. CISC is a CPU design where one instruction works several low-level acts such as memory storage, loading from memory and an arithmetic operation. 


So that it can store information (under different values and different sizes), each processor is composed of different parts, “boxes,” called registers.



The label is just an address identifier


A label can be placed at the beginning of a statement. During assembly, the label is assigned the current value of the active location counter and serves as an instruction operand.

Comments begin with a semicolon (;) and do not generate machine codes. In other words, they (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Infosec Resources authored by Richard Azu. Read the original post at:

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Richard Azu

Richard has over 16 years of experience in Network/Telecom Engineering. Experienced in the deployment of voice and data over the 3 media; radio, copper and fibre, Richard – a system support technician currently with First National Bank Ghana Limited is still looking for ways to derive benefit from the WDM technology in Optics. Using Kali as a springboard, he has developed an interest in digital forensics and penetration testing.

richard-azu has 12 posts and counting.See all posts by richard-azu

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