In software development, obfuscation is the act of creating source or machine code that is difficult for humans to understand. Like obfuscation in natural language, it may use needlessly roundabout expressions to compose statements. Programmers may deliberately obfuscate code to conceal its purpose (security through obscurity) or its logic or implicit values embedded in it, primarily, in order to prevent tampering, deter reverse engineering, or even to create a puzzle or recreational challenge for someone reading the source code. This can be done manually or by using an automated tool, the latter being the preferred technique in industry.
The architecture and characteristics of some languages may make them easier to obfuscate than others. C, C++, and the Perl programming language are some examples of languages easy to obfuscate. Haskell is also quite obfuscatable despite being quite different in structure.
Writing and reading obfuscated source code can be a brain teaser. A number of programming contests reward the most creatively obfuscated code, such as the International Obfuscated C Code Contest and the Obfuscated Perl Contest.