I'm using the RPI to create a program, but I need to disable the USB ports so that the end user cannot plug in a keyboard or mouse and mess with the device.
Is this possible, and if so how is it done?
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You may find luck with this command:
echo 0x0 > /sys/devices/platform/bcm2708_usb/buspower
This seems to disable the USB ports. I haven't tested it though.
Each USB host controller in Linux exposes a setting called
authorized_default, which controls the state of any new connected devices. Setting it to 0 makes all new devices disabled by default:
for host in /sys/bus/usb/devices/usb*; do echo 0 > $host/authorized_default; done
A recommended way of running this script consists in using
udev rules. This way, you're sure the script runs at the right time, when the host controller driver is already loaded, but none of the devices have yet been authorised. See this question for an example of this approach.
One thing you should understand is that software locks are only effective as long as the end user cannot unplug the SD card and remove the protections you have put in place.
I don't really know that it's directly possible... Why not just physically block the users ability to do so? Either by putting it where they can't get to, filling in the ports or by putting a locking mechanism over/around it.
sudo sh -c "echo 0 > /sys/devices/platform/soc/3f980000.usb/buspower"
Will disable the USB ports but also the LAN port.
sudo sh -c "echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/soc/3f980000.usb/buspower"
use SELinux, look up this online and you'll have great many resources. It was developed for this purpose. You can then disable/enable ports and other features of your Linux system.