VirtualBox

Ticket #10769 (new defect)

Opened 3 years ago

Last modified 5 weeks ago

VirtualBox unnecessarily enables USB 2.0 web camera when starting a VM

Reported by: ColdCold Owned by:
Priority: major Component: USB
Version: VirtualBox 4.1.18 Keywords: USB webcam camera
Cc: Guest type: Windows
Host type: Windows

Description

Even with all USB functionality disabled in VirtualBox settings, upon start-up of a VM, my webcam turns on (activity LED lights up). I do not want to use the webcam in the VM and even if the issue is benign and harmless, it still *feels* like I am being spied on. Having the camera on feels like a security breach. Incidentally, the camera is still available to the host.

Please see this forum thread for complete details:  https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=40682

The following three tickets appear to be the same issue... I am re-posting the issue again in order to get some attention, because the other three tickets are still open issues and the oldest one goes back three years!

See Tickets #10091, #6489 and #5469.

I am using a USB 2.0 Microsoft "LifeCam Cinema" camera, but looking at the other tickets, it doesn't appear that the type of camera matters. I am using a Win7 x64 guest but it looks like some of the other tickets are running Linux guests and they're having the same problem. The only common thread I see is that they are all Windows hosts.

Again, please look at the forum posts for output from "VBoxManage showvminfo <VM Name> --details" as well as several screen shots.  https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=40682

VBox.log is attached.

Thank you, ColdCold

Attachments

VBox.log Download (76.7 KB) - added by ColdCold 3 years ago.
VBox.log
VBoxManageOutput.txt Download (3.6 KB) - added by ColdCold 3 years ago.
Output from "VBoxManage showvminfo <VM Name> --details"

Change History

Changed 3 years ago by ColdCold

VBox.log

Changed 3 years ago by ColdCold

Output from "VBoxManage showvminfo <VM Name> --details"

comment:1 Changed 2 years ago by mtompset

I have a similar problem. I, however, tweaked the AUDIO settings (the MS LifeCam Cinema is a composite device) and the web camera did not become noticeably active. I'd like my VM to beep at me, but I don't need to use the microphone or web camera.

comment:2 Changed 3 months ago by JoshM

This is 3 years old, but with privacy concerns as high as they (rightfully) are these days, it seems this should be fixed. For me, my webcam's indicator was on when starting a VM. I then completely disabled audio for the VM and the indicator is no longer on when running the VM. This, of course, is not a good fix - we need something better!

comment:3 follow-up: ↓ 4 Changed 3 months ago by frank

The reason for this behavior is most likely (we didn't manage to reproduce it yet) that the VM opens the microphone channel of the webcam. There is not a direct intention, VirtualBox just opens Audio input if Audio is enabled for this VM. So disabling Audio should work around the problem. I guess a better fix would be selective enabling audio input and output for the VM. Needs to be implemented.

comment:4 in reply to: ↑ 3 Changed 5 weeks ago by lewekleonek

Replying to frank:

The reason for this behavior is most likely (we didn't manage to reproduce it yet) that the VM opens the microphone channel of the webcam. There is not a direct intention, VirtualBox just opens Audio input if Audio is enabled for this VM. So disabling Audio should work around the problem. I guess a better fix would be selective enabling audio input and output for the VM. Needs to be implemented.

This one is getting old but Frank is right. It's not the webcam itself that gets activated by running VMs in virtualbox. It is the microphone sound device.

To test this navigate to you Windows "Recording Devices" and disable Desktop Microphone (this is the default name which can be changed) - Studio Microsoft LifeCam.

The blue LED light will no longer light up when you start your virtualbox VMs.

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