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Vimeo Privacy by Website Domain Bypass

by gjuniioor, userx

OBS: Você pode ler esse post em português em /articles/bypass-privacidade-do-vimeo/

NOTE: You can read this post in portuguese in /articles/bypass-privacidade-do-vimeo/



On #ViradaHacker on the first day of April was descrybed a way 1 to watch a private vimeo video. That was a fast and resumed approach about that matter, however, through the page on facebook do LampiãoSec, e-mail and telegram, we have received some requests and incentives to make a more detailed post, to show the theory behind the scenes of the whole process. So, as response to this people and our own will to help the community how ever we can, it took time but here it goes.


To show and to help you understand how the solution was thought is important, both, for those who are stating on this matter, once that this way they start to see how the process was thought and stuff like that, and for the community itself, once that it’s one how-to less creating facebook hackers around.

The Issue

What would happen is the following: We wanted a friend of ours to see a video hosted on Vimeo but that video was configured to be shown only through a particula site, and this friend hasn’t access to it. So, was thought: if vimeo let only one site to show the video content, let’s then pretend that my machine is this site. After some tests, everything worked very well and you can see this report, originally, on #ViradaHacker 1.


Basically, when we talk about web, we talk about HTTP (Hipertext Transfer protocol). Therefore, for better understanding the procedure, is good to have some knowledge, even basic, of this protocol behavior. If you need an reinforcement, we recommend the free e-book HTTP Succinctly 2, once and explanation about HTTP is far beyond the scope of this post.

But let’s remember somethings to keep the focus: remember that HTTP stands for a text protocol, then every management is easly done. Another thing that must be remembered is HTTP headers and its parameters. The most important of them to our scope now is the field Referer3. This field informs to server from where the user got the reference (suspect name isn’t?) to access certain resource. In other words, if you click on some link, the server in which the site refered by the link will know from where you came. Ergo, if you access any link you saw here, but typing the address, the destiny server won’t be able to know this info.

And it’s through this field (referer) that vimeo make its verification. Take a look at this sample: E é justamente por esse campo que o Vimeo faz a verificação. Veja exemplo:

Cabeçalho HTTP de requisição ao Vimeo

And that’s whole theory we need to know and understand this hack. Let’s practice!


Knowing that it’s by this way that Vimeo make its verification if the domain on the Referer 3 field is the same that is informed by user on video settings, we can then manipulate the request, informing on this field what Vimeo wants to know. All we need is to edit the HTTP request to player.vimeo.com. We can do this by a lot of ways: Web proxy, criating your own request or generating a new one as we need. Let’s show some ways to do that but do not limit yourself to this ways. And if there’s any other way to do that, please, share it with us, be our guest to comment or contact us to add your contribution here.

Changing DNS

The first method to be shown will be the one originally tested, and already shown on the post 1, on #ViradaHacker. On this method, we create a local server, to assign the domain we want and done.

First Step: Creating the server

Firstly, we need to create our own server. We can do this by several means, but the choosen one here was with python module, once that it comes already installed by default on the most linux distributions. So, just run the command below, modifying some fields:

$ sudo python -m http.server --bind your_ip_address 80

Second Step: Creating a video page

On the same directory that you runned the server, create an index.html file (or, ofcourse, any other html file :] ) with an widget video. To easy your work, you can copy and paste it if you wish:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
	<meta charset="UTF-8">
	<title>Vimeo Privacy Bypass :: LampiãoSec</title>
	<iframe style="width: 100%; height: 500px;" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/109727604" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

NOTE: The above video belongs to Cybrary. We’re using it as example once that it’s a nice project and with free access, therefore, no one gets hurt. =-D

If you make the request now, you’ll notice that you can’t see the video, it’s blocked. And if you debug the communication header, you’ll see that a 403 was returned, just because of the referer field that is diferent from the allowed.

Request that doesn't show the video

Third: Informing the necessary referer

Now we need to show to Vimeo that we’re Cybrary (faking it). How can we do this? With this method we can change the Cybrary response address, in the way that when we access cybrary.ti on the browser, it returns the page we want.

To do this, we change the DNS answer, informing that now our ip answers as cybrary.it. We could do this by building our own DNS server doing a Cache poisioning, but to easy the process, let’s just modify our /etc/hosts. For this, insert the following field to the file:

your_ip	 allowed_domain	allowed_domain

Of course, modifying the it properly to fit your configuration, like editing your_ip field and so on.

Done! Now if we request again we can se that we’ll get a valid response and taking a look at the referer, we can notice that it’s now changed:

Request shown the video

Another methods

Exploining the way we get to the results, let’s do this by other ways, with other tools so we are not stuck in a single idea. The major goal here is that you learn the technique than simply execute it, alright?!

Modifying the HTTP request through BurpSuite

Let’s show you how to do this by means of editing HTTP request header. Firstly, we need to open Burp Suite and configure your browser. Once you have done it, let’s make a request to player.vimeo.com informing the video ID. So, the address will be:


Ergo on the first request captured by our Burp Suite proxy, let’s make our modification:

Referer: https://cybrary.it

Do not forget that we put http://cybrary.it because that’s the domain that the video is configure to work on, you need to make it fit to your case.

Modified header from HTTP request through BurpSuite

Make the request through cURL & wget

In all moments we need to directly interact with several programs to make this modification, basically, for each moment we want to see a video. Once that the video page is already loaded we can download it so we won’t need to worry to make it all again anymore. With curl or wget this is a lot easier. Take a look:

$ curl --referer https://cybrary.it -o curl.html https://player.vimeo.com/video/109727604
$ wget --referer https://cybrary.it -O wget.html https://player.vimeo.com/video/109727604

Note that what’s different from on command to another is the first parameter to the filename to be saved. Both will modify the referer the same way. That makes it easy if you want to make a script for something :)

Building the request with ncat from the scratch

Now, let’s practice what was seen by creating the request from the scratch with ncat instead of using some tool that automates it.

- But why ncat instead of netcat? - he asked.

- Because we need SSL on this request - we answered (rs’)

It’s easy:

$ ncat --ssl player.vimeo.com 443 | grep -i "doctype" > ncat.html
	GET /video/109727604 HTTP/1.1
	Referer: https://cybrary.it
	Host: player.vimeo.com
	User-Agent: LampiãoSec
	Connection: close

OBS: We have used TAB on some lines indicating that this lines will be writing inside ncat.

Based on everything explained, we believe that this request is understandable. But if you have some question, feel free to contact us.


Let us be succints now: Find out to where goes the rabbit role.


  1. Bypass report  2 3

  2. HTTP Succinctly Review 

  3. Referer Field  2