VirtualBox – USB Devices

As a military member, I am issued a CAC card, which is a smart card carrying a PKI certificate for logging onto web interfaces and signing documents.  As  Linux user, I’ve been frustrated by the Windows specifics for utilizing CAC cards and have been happy to find alternatives through libcoolkey and pcsc_lite.  These work well with Firefox and I can log onto web interfaces just fine, but have not had a viable, Linux solution to signing documents.  In the military, we use an IBM product, PureEdge to utilize our forms which are *.xfdl documents.

The solution I have come to, although not purely Linux, allows me to sign documents without rebooting to another OS.  For testing purposes, I have had Windows XP running in VirtualBox so I decided to utilize that.  The problem came in that I was using virtualbox-ose and needed to not use the open source version for access to the USB devices.   The process then is relatively and well documented with simple Google searches:

  1. Set vboxuser in the user’s group.
  2. Configure your USB devices (in this case the CAC card reader) to be detected by the guest OS.
  3. Run the guest OS and install ActivClient 6.0 and Silinas ApproveIt to be able to sign *.xfdl documents.

See, simple… hmm, that sounds too close to Windows 7 add but I promise it is not!  I may be a PC but Windows 7 was NOT my idea!!

3 thoughts on “VirtualBox – USB Devices”

  1. Got to love Virtual Box. I run about the same setup for signing EPRs and such. I dont much use the linux methods for accessing the smart card; though it is tempting to try. I ran into a wealth of problems using the ose version myself. I wind up just using a windows 7 vm for just about everything. Funny; I thought I was the only one in the military using Linux, VBox, and such.

  2. You are one of many in the military or supporting the military utilzing VirtualBox. Zbert were you able to implement CAC card login on guest machine using host networking? We do not want to expose our guest machine to the NMCI network.

    1. Well, I’m not utilizing a VPN network so my CAC card is used only to login to websites (like AKO) and sign documents. However, it’s a good point you bring up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *