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I'm setting up a demo machine to run unattended in a public place. It's running Ubuntu 10.10, x86 32-bit. The machine is caged but the USB ports are accessible, which is an obvious risk. I've already turned off booting from USB storage devices and password-protected the BIOS settings so USB pen drives shouldn't be a problem.

I want to prevent people coming up to the machine, inserting a USB keyboard (or mouse) and being able to mess with the machine. I've googled a lot but found very little on how to prevent the use of USB input devices on Linux/Ubuntu (this was closest, but is unanswered). I cannot turn off the entire USB subsystem because the machine has a USB peripheral (webcam) plugged in as part of the demo. I just want to stop keyboards, mice and other input devices (trackballs, etc) being recognised, whether they're plugged in when the machine is turned on or whether they're hotplugged later on. Does anyone know a way to accomplish this in the OS?

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migrated from Apr 21 '11 at 10:24

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

I have not tried this, but you might be able to stop hald. – CarlF Apr 21 '11 at 12:38

You say the USB ports are accessible. If they're the kind that are in the front of the machine, then they're usually connected to the motherboard using a cable that you can simply unplug from the motherboard. The ports are still there, but they have no electrical connection to the computer.

Unless they're hardmounted on the motherboard, which is usually the case on the back of the machine. You can't simply unplug those, but since you say the machine is caged, perhaps the backside isn't a problem in the first place.

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The back is accessible in the cage, unfortunately, and there's not an easy way to prevent that. So although the idea is good, it's not going to work in this situation. – Neil Brown Apr 21 '11 at 11:24

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