In the last couple of years, the mobile device world have been rocked by a number of security and privacy scares. These include the Snapchat and iCloud image leaks, the Stagefright vulnerability and more recently the HummingBad infection. There have been a number of interesting reports released recently including security experts advising customers to either buy a Nexus or Samsung device, through to other reports illustrating how customers are avoiding deliberately secured devices. Despite this, every manufacturer seems to be explaining how their device offers the latest in security systems, even if this is not necessarily the case. However, for the consumer wanting a the more robust reassurance than marketing words, there are fewer choices. One is BlackBerry and another is Silent Circle's Blackphone, but there is also the CopperheadOS, which is a standalone operating system platform that may be installed onto a number of recent Nexus devices.
Indeed, CopperheadOS is available for the Nexus 5, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P and Wi-Fi versions of the Nexus 9. The team will consider more devices providing they are based on a 64-bit System-on-Chip: existing devices will be supported for as long as Google offer the support. It's a hardened variant of the stock Android that Google build for the hardware and includes additional features such as app sandboxing, a firewall, MAC randomisation and protection from memory corruption and integer overflows, which may be used by malicious applications. CopperheadOS is based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and is entirely self-funded – although the development team are looking to expand the project with community support, which we have already covered.
To this end, the CopperheadOS team are launching the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P with the software installed and at a premium to the device that Google sells. In a sense, the CopperheadOS team are offering customers a fresh device at a premium to the Google price in order to raise money. The 16 GB Nexus 5X is available for $599 compared with Google's $349, although it's often on sale. The 32 GB Nexus 6P is available for $749, but Google charges $499 for the same device. Customers are paying quite a premium for the developers to install what is currently free software onto the devices, but the CopperheadOS team will use the profits raised from this in order to expand and develop the software. One could consider this as a proxy to a kickstarter, but with a real product at the time of donation. As the website explains, CopperheadOS needs file servers, processing resources, site hosting and devices for testing. The more money raised, the quicker and more responsive the team will be when developing and releasing updates to the operating system platform.