Can a website detect when you are using Selenium with chromedriver?

Replacing cdc_ string

You can use vim or perl to replace the cdc_ string in chromedriver. See answer by @Erti-Chris Eelmaa to learn more about that string and how it’s a detection point.

Using vim or perl prevents you from having to recompile source code or use a hex-editor.

Make sure to make a copy of the original chromedriver before attempting to edit it.

Our goal is to alter the cdc_ string, which looks something like $cdc_lasutopfhvcZLmcfl.

The methods below were tested on chromedriver version 2.41.578706.

Using Vim

vim /path/to/chromedriver

After running the line above, you’ll probably see a bunch of gibberish. Do the following:

  1. Replace all instances of cdc_ with dog_ by typing :%s/cdc_/dog_/g.
    • dog_ is just an example. You can choose anything as long as it has the same amount of characters as the search string (e.g., cdc_), otherwise the chromedriver will fail.
  2. To save the changes and quit, type :wq! and press return.
    • If you need to quit without saving changes, type :q! and press return.

Using Perl

The line below replaces all cdc_ occurrences with dog_. Credit to Vic Seedoubleyew:

perl -pi -e 's/cdc_/dog_/g' /path/to/chromedriver

Make sure that the replacement string (e.g., dog_) has the same number of characters as the search string (e.g., cdc_), otherwise the chromedriver will fail.

Wrapping Up

To verify that all occurrences of cdc_ were replaced:

grep "cdc_" /path/to/chromedriver

If no output was returned, the replacement was successful.

Go to the altered chromedriver and double click on it. A terminal window should open up. If you don’t see killed in the output, you’ve successfully altered the driver.

Make sure that the name of the altered chromedriver binary is chromedriver, and that the original binary is either moved from its original location or renamed.

My Experience With This Method

I was previously being detected on a website while trying to log in, but after replacing cdc_ with an equal sized string, I was able to log in. Like others have said though, if you’ve already been detected, you might get blocked for a plethora of other reasons even after using this method. So you may have to try accessing the site that was detecting you using a VPN, different network, etc.

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