Security-Focused Android Fork CopperheadOS is Coming to the Google Pixel 2/2 XL
Security-minded folks using an Android phone as their daily driver normally take additional measures to toughen up their devices, sometimes by replacing Google apps and services with FOSS alternatives from repositories like F-Droid. CopperheadOS is the perfect Android distribution for those people: It’s a security- and privacy-focused custom ROM made by Copperhead, a Toronto-based cybersecurity firm. It’s based on pure AOSP Android Oreo and packs a hardened kernel, C standard library and toolchain, and backported security features designed to lock down the Android devices it supports.
But until now, CopperheadOS was only available on Google phones such as the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Google Pixel, and Google Pixel XL. (Copperhead sells modified Google Pixel and the Pixel XL devices with CopperheadOS preinstalled.) This week, though, the security-focused Android fork made its way to Google’s 2017 device lineup, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
An alpha version of CopperheadOS was released for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL on Wednesday, bringing with it a slew of security-oriented kernel commits, Verified Boot 2.0 support, rollback protection, and better public key enforcement, according to the team’s official Twitter account.
You’ll still have to wait a bit before you can install it, though. As with previous CopperheadOS releases, simply grabbing the factory image or over-the-air update ZIP from the company’s website isn’t an option. All builds, except for the Nexus 5X/Nexus 6P ones, are currently marked as “for internal use” and require authentication in order to download. Here’s hoping that changes.
While it hasn’t been officially confirmed, it’s very likely that Copperhead is planning to sell Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices with the ROM preinstalled, just as it did with Google’s previous-generation Pixel devices. The source code, however, remains available to the public.