Android 11 is released and we have already covered many such working Android 11 AOSP builds for various devices. AOSP builds are vanilla Android, but is the Pixel Experience 11 ready within a week of Android 11 release?
Recently, I came across a build of Pixel Experience 11 for Redmi K20 Pro / Mi 9T Pro on xda. When I investigated, I found that this is a FAKE build!
Let’s find out how?
Fake PE 11 Build Information
I downloaded the file from the above xda forum link and extracted to see if it is really an Android 11 build? So, I extracted to see the system build information, and this is what I found:
ro.build.date=Wed Sep 2 03:28:42 UTC 2020
# ro.build.product is obsolete; use ro.product.device
ro.build.description=joyeuse-user 10 QKQ1.191215.002 V18.104.22.168.QJZMIXM release-keys
Observe the text marked in yellow.
- The build Id is QQ3A.200805.001 and build version SDK is 29 which tells that this is an Android Q build and not Android 11.
- The build date is 2nd September 2020 when there was no Android 11 released. Of course there were GSI builds but this is not a GSI build!
- This was built by skylark17 (Agung Pratama) and there is no name of him in the entire post. Rather, the post author Ottograf mentioned that he is the maintainer of this build.
- Build product is joyeuse which is the global variant of Redmi Note 9 Pro. But the xda post mentioned that this build is a build of Pixel Experience 11 for Redmi K20 Pro, which is false!
This build is falsely highlighted by the publisher as a Pixel Experience 11 build for Redmi K20 Pro. But, in fact, this is a Pixel Experience 10 build for Redmi Note 9 Pro.
Official Statement on Pixel Experience 11
Well, that’s my side of investigation. But, that’s not the end of the story! After this, Pixel Experience team has officially warned about this case, not specifically, but in a general announcement.
Below is what reads from the announcement that was published on their official Telegram channel:
We heard from an XDA Post that people are starting to build PE 11.
Beware, we haven’t yet started work on the next iteration of PE. If you are installing an unofficial build of PE 11, please be aware, it might be even spyware shipped in the form of a PE zip.
We take no responsibility for what’s shipped in the form of unofficial builds. It’s totally your choice to use them.
What’s the Reason to Bring This to Notice?
The team has clearly mentioned that they have not yet started working on Pixel Experience 11. Then what is the impact of such false builds roaming in the web?
The Trust Factor and XDA forums!
XDA is treated as a trusted source for custom ROM builds! People trust the place blindly. So does XDA takes this seriously and the moderators acts on these things pretty quickly. As a consequence, the thread is now closed but the post has still not been marked as a fake build!
Legitimacy on cyanogenmods.org!
We also publish custom ROMs, TWRP recoveries, etc. on our website. Unlike XDA forum, which is open for everyone to publish the posts, on our case we verify everything on our end before we publish them here.
What if people really ship spyware in the form of a custom ROM? How do users know what they are flashing? What are the vulnerabilities?
Custom ROMs, by design require an unlocked device to be installed. Which means, the phone manufacturer is not liable for any damage caused by these custom softwares.
That’s the reason the users must validate before they install anything on their phone(s). And, it is exteremely important for us as a publisher to know and convey what are we publishing.
Problem With Fake / Inappropriate Builds
Custom ROMs can be designed to contain malicious apps which may steal user data or spy on the user’s behavior. Plus, if you flash a custom ROM on a phone that is actually built for other device, can make your device permanently unusable!
Redmi Note 8 Pro could be a classic example of bricking phones of installing custom ROMs!
There could be some other serious side effects as well which I might not be aware of.
How to Save Yourself From Fake Custom ROM Builds?
To protect yourself from such a thing, you must trust the developer of the build and from where you are downloading it.
Most of the official builds from a custom ROM distributor can be trusted as a legit build, if downloaded from a trusted source!
As a precautionary measure, users shall verify about the build information at first place, or try to know from where the build originated and so on.
Well, this build of Pixel Experience was not an Android 11 based but here we maintain all the latest Android 11 Download for various phones. Every build is verified before published. Still, you can always verify the build information yourself and compare against what we publish on the respective pages.