Find Chrome Linux hidden flash flv files

On Linux (Ubuntu) Chrome and the flash plugin (and presumably firefox and other mozilla variants) used to store flash cache files in /tmp, which made it very easy to copy things such as videos off of YouTube and Google videos and the like.

Note that it may be a violation of copyright to download videos that are not in the public domain

This was recently changed however, supposedly to help support the 'private mode' that some browsers have. But it's still not difficult to get these files. Evidently the flash plugin is still storing the files in tmp, but it deletes them after opening them - the files exist until the file handle is closed, but you can't see it in the directory listing. Pretty clever, and great for private mode, but not great if you want to save a copy of that file.

Turns out we can see the file in use using the handy UNIX/Linux command 'lsof' which shows us something like:

chrome 919 dave 33u REG 8,1 60869267 41943191 /tmp/FlashXXZpZ620 (deleted)

From this we can get the process id (919) and the file descripter (33). Using those we can get a handle to the deleted file by looking at:


But instead of dealing with that hassle each time, I've written a script called flashcache that will do it for you. Just download the perl script, make it executable (or call it via 'perl') and it will save the open/deleted flash files for you (just be sure to wait until they are done loading in your browser)


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