Disabling sound kernel modules on Debian and Ubuntu GNU / Linux servers

Friday, 19th October 2012

First step is to list modules related to sound (snd):

root@pcfreak:/var/www# lsmod|grep -i snd
snd_hda_codec_realtek 235234 1
snd_hda_intel 20035 0
snd_hda_codec 53940 2 snd_hda_codec_realtek,snd_hda_intel
snd_hwdep 5220 1 snd_hda_codec
snd_pcm_oss 32415 0
snd_mixer_oss 12478 1 snd_pcm_oss
snd_pcm 60151 3 snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec,snd_pcm_oss
snd_seq_midi 4256 0
snd_rawmidi 15323 1 snd_seq_midi
snd_seq_midi_event 4628 1 snd_seq_midi
snd_seq 41281 2 snd_seq_midi,snd_seq_midi_event
snd_timer 15502 2 snd_pcm,snd_seq
snd_seq_device 4493 3 snd_seq_midi,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq
snd 45998 11
soundcore 4566 1 snd
snd_page_alloc 6217 2 snd_hda_intel,snd_pcm

Then snd modules could be removed from current live system, for my Intel RealTek SoundBlaster, I had to remove following modules in (remove) order as follows:

root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod soundcore
ERROR: Module soundcore is in use by snd
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_hda_codec_realtec
ERROR: Module snd_hda_codec_realtec does not exist in /proc/modules
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_hda_intel
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_hda_codec
ERROR: Module snd_hda_codec is in use by snd_hda_codec_realtek
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_hda_codec_realtek
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_hda_codec
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_pcm_oss
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_seq_midi
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_rawmidi
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_seq_midi_event
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_seq
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_timer
ERROR: Module snd_timer is in use by snd_pcm
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_seq_device
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_pcm
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_seq_device
ERROR: Module snd_seq_device does not exist in /proc/modules
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_hda_intel
ERROR: Module snd_hda_intel does not exist in /proc/modules
rmmod snd_hwdep
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_mixer_oss
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd_timer
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod snd
root@pcfreak:/var/www# rmmod soundcore

Next step is to permanently disable all (blacklist) on system boot time loaded kernel modules, to do so in file /etc/modprobe.d/snd-bkaclist.conf, put:

blacklist soundcore
blacklist snd
blacklist snd_pcm
blacklist snd_pcsp
blacklist pcspkr

You can do it from shell ‘echo’-ing into file, like so:

# touch /etc/modprobe.d/snd-blacklist.conf
# cd /etc/modprobe.d/
# echo ‘blacklist soundcore’ >> snd-blacklist.conf
# echo ‘blacklist snd’ >> snd-blacklist.conf
# echo ‘blacklist snd_pcm’ >> snd-blacklist.conf
# echo ‘blacklist snd_pcsp’ >> snd-blacklist.conf
# echo ‘blacklist pcspkr’ >> snd-blacklist.conf

Another way is to use a tiny shellscript containing all previously shown rmmod commands and set the script to be executed via /etc/rc.local by adding the rmmod modules script, before exit 0 rc.local line.

Shell script removing my Realtek ICH sound driversis here
If you like to use it download it in /usr/local/bin or somewhere and invoke it via rc.local.
Removing sound blaster kernel support does not impact the overall machine performance, but in terms of security. Having sound driver modules constantly loaded in memory is a point which a possible attacker can use to root the host, so in my view always sound driver support should be removed.
Well that’s it hope this post helps someone 🙂

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