I’m a programmer and have done some low-level Windows API and Linux stuff, but never any driver development so this question has me flummoxed.
Since malware seems to not care how obnoxious it has to be to get your attention, why haven’t there been exploits that talk directly to the sound hardware, overriding any “mute” settings in the OS? Imagine…you’re working happily away, having muted your speakers using, say, the Windows volume control, when some stealthy malware process causes your speakers to yell “visit barely legal goats dot com” or some such.
I’ve tried googling for things like “override volume control” but the hits aren’t useful.
Is there a simple reason why it’s not possible to talk directly to the sound hardware? I have a vague notion of Intel “rings” and I know about kernel mode vs. user mode, but I’d have though that especially on Windows, where most users log on routinely as admin, that wouldn’t be an insurmountable obstacle.