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Authorizing (or not) your USB devices to connect to the system
(C) 2007 Inaky Perez-Gonzalez <> Intel Corporation
This feature allows you to control if a USB device can be used (or
not) in a system. This feature will allow you to implement a lock-down
of USB devices, fully controlled by user space.
As of now, when a USB device is connected it is configured and
its interfaces are immediately made available to the users. With this
modification, only if root authorizes the device to be configured will
then it be possible to use it.
Authorize a device to connect:
$ echo 1 > /sys/bus/usb/devices/DEVICE/authorized
Deauthorize a device:
$ echo 0 > /sys/bus/usb/devices/DEVICE/authorized
Set new devices connected to hostX to be deauthorized by default (ie:
lock down):
$ echo 0 > /sys/bus/usb/devices/usbX/authorized_default
Remove the lock down:
$ echo 1 > /sys/bus/usb/devices/usbX/authorized_default
By default, Wired USB devices are authorized by default to
connect. Wireless USB hosts deauthorize by default all new connected
devices (this is so because we need to do an authentication phase
before authorizing).
Example system lockdown (lame)
Imagine you want to implement a lockdown so only devices of type XYZ
can be connected (for example, it is a kiosk machine with a visible
USB port):
boot up
rc.local ->
for host in /sys/bus/usb/devices/usb*
echo 0 > $host/authorized_default
Hookup an script to udev, for new USB devices
if device_is_my_type $DEV
echo 1 > $device_path/authorized
Now, device_is_my_type() is where the juice for a lockdown is. Just
checking if the class, type and protocol match something is the worse
security verification you can make (or the best, for someone willing
to break it). If you need something secure, use crypto and Certificate
Authentication or stuff like that. Something simple for an storage key
could be:
function device_is_my_type()
echo 1 > authorized # temporarily authorize it
# FIXME: make sure none can mount it
mount DEVICENODE /mntpoint
sum=$(md5sum /mntpoint/.signature)
if [ $sum = $(cat /etc/lockdown/keysum) ]
echo "We are good, connected"
umount /mntpoint
# Other stuff so others can use it
echo 0 > authorized
Of course, this is lame, you'd want to do a real certificate
verification stuff with PKI, so you don't depend on a shared secret,
etc, but you get the idea. Anybody with access to a device gadget kit
can fake descriptors and device info. Don't trust that. You are