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Foolproof method to detect obfuscated requests aka how to download that damn FLV

Submitted by Druss on Sat, 2008-08-23 23:38

I'm pretty sure most people are aware of the huge amount of content available on sites like YouTube, Megavideo etc., and of the existence of hangers-on sites such as Keepvid, Clip Nabber etc. as well that let you leech the FLV files directly. Furthermore, I'm also sure that you've noticed many of these leech sites not working more often than not nowadays. This is mainly due to the fact that the video sites frequently change the code that generate the URL for the FLV file to prevent exactly this form of abuse as it reduces the number of direct hits on their sites thereby reducing revenues and what not.

Depending on your browser, you can still just locate the downloaded file from your browser's cache directory. However, this is something of a pain and generally sub-optimal. The following is an imperfect workaround in that it requires you to load (for a second or two) the video in your browser, but, on the other hand, will always work and what's more, it is not only restricted to video files:

  1. This can only be done with Firefox.
  2. Install the Tamper data extension and restart the browser etc..
  3. Visit the URL you want to leech a file from... Megavideo will be used as an example here.
  4. Click on Tools and Tamper Data (and if you like, the start button in the subsequent window, though it's not necessary).
  5. Go back to the video page and click on the play button (Megavideo videos only start loading once you click on play. For other sites you might want to start Tamper data prior to visiting the actual URL.).
  6. If you clicked the start button earlier, you will need to click on the submit button for each of Tamper data's requests until the video starts loading.
  7. On the tamper data window, look for video/flv under the Content Type column and double-click the associated row. This should provide the URL which you can right click to copy.
  8. Now that you have the URL, you can, of course, close the window loading the video.

This can also be accomplished by using network tools like packet sniffers and the like.