Project Shield: a Google free service to protect sites from DDoS attacks

Google has built a free tool for journalists, news sites and other organizations, called Project Shield that re-routes nasty traffic through its own infrastructure in order to stop websites being overwhelmed.

From Service Website:

Project Shield welcomes applications from websites serving news. Human rights and or elections monitoring content are also welcome to apply. We do not provide service to other types of content, including gaming, businesses, or individual blogs.

All data collected are used only “for DDoS mitigation and caching and to improve the Project Shield service”.

What is a DDoS Attack?

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources.

They target a wide variety of important resources, from banks to news websites, and present a major challenge to making sure people can publish and access important information.


How it works?

Any site that signs up for Project Shield can make a change to their domain name configuration that redirects visitors to a Google server that acts as a reverse proxy designed to filter out malicious traffic and cache some elements of the site to lighten the load on the website’s servers.

Not for all!

You will need a Google account to use the service, but the service is not for all websites:

Project Shield welcomes applications from websites serving news. Human rights and or elections monitoring content are also welcome to apply.

We do not provide service to other types of content, including gaming, businesses, or individual blogs.

Google chose to offer Project Shield specifically to news organizations because in many cases those groups

“depend entirely on their web presence to get information to the public”.

Links and resources

VMWare AirWatch MDM Agent on rooted Android Devices: how to force the enrollment

The BOYD (Bring your own device) policy starts being a very common practice in a lot of company.

The ability to access corporate resources from their device makes it much easier to work in mobility, but it introduces a great number of security issues.

To overcome these problems companies can require, to employees who want to use their device, to install agents that allow company to control the security settings and necessarily take action if the devices are lost or stolen.

One of the most common agent for android devices is the AirWatch MDM, by VMware:

AirWatch provides enterprise mobility management for Android with a single console to manage devices, email, applications, content, browsing and more. AirWatch offers same-day support for Android releases to enable our customers to take advantage of the latest technology and advancements. The AirWatch platform has best-in-class architecture that is highly scalable, secure and flexible to meet your global enterprise mobility initiatives.

A complete and integrated solution!

However, enrollment is usually blocked if the device has root permissions enabled.

Understandable limitation, in the case of a normal user: the root permissions enabled introduces less control by the agent and the possibility of more security issues.

Nevertheless, not always root permissions imply security problems:

often the same vendors release devices on which can enable root without ‘esoteric’ procedures, and very often are essential for developers and skilled users.

How to force enrollment?

Fortunately there is a simple and quick way to force the enrollment of the device with root permissions.

Xposed framework is required (I have already spoken about in this post): just install unWatch, a great module developed by digitalhigh, a member of the XDA forum.

Activate the module from Xposed Installer, restart the device and…enroll!

Peter Attia: Is the obesity crisis hiding a bigger problem?

Peter Attia @ TEDMED 2013

A TED talk by Peter Attia of TEDMED 2013, about obesity and diabetes.

As a young surgeon, Peter Attia felt contempt for a patient with diabetes. She was overweight, he thought, and thus responsible for the fact that she needed a foot amputation. But years later, Attia received an unpleasant medical surprise that led him to wonder: is our understanding of diabetes right?

Peter Attia is a surgeon who developed metabolic syndrome himself despite the fact that he ate well and exercised often, and realized that our understanding of these important health issues may not actually be correct.

Attia writes the blog Eating Academy, which charts his own adventures in nutrition and examines scientific evidence surrounding food, weight loss and disease risk.

He hopes to convince others that sharp increases in the rates of obesity and diabetes might be a result of people being given the wrong information.

Some important points of the speech

You can think of insulin as this master hormone that controls what our body does with the foods we eat, whether we burn it or store it. This is called fuel partitioning in the lingo. Now failure to produce enough insulin is incompatible with life. And insulin resistance, as its name suggests, is when your cells get increasingly resistant to the effect of insulin trying to do its job.

Once you’re insulin-resistant, you’re on your way to getting diabetes, which is what happens when your pancreas can’t keep up with the resistance and make enough insulin. Now your blood sugar levels start to rise, and an entire cascade of pathologic events sort of spirals out of control that can lead to heart disease, cancer, even Alzheimer’s disease, and amputations

So what if we’re fighting the wrong war, fighting obesity rather than insulin resistance? Even worse, what if blaming the obese means we’re blaming the victims? What if some of our fundamental ideas about obesity are just wrong?

Rooting and installing Xposed Framework on Vodafone Smart Prime 6 (VF-895N)

I am a hacker in the original sense of the term, I like taking things apart, modify them and (when I can) improve them.

So, whenever I find myself in your hands a new smartphone (especially Android) i feel like a child in which was given a new toy 🙂

Recently, my company has equipped me with a shiny new Vodafone Smart Prime 6 (VF-895N), a smartphone reasonably fast with support for 4G networks.

I immediately started to study it and I decided to go with my usual settings:

  • Gaining root permissions
  • Remove the bloatware and the pre-installed applications that i do not use
  • Install the Xposed framework
  • Install and configure Greenify and the respective Xposed module

Let’s see in detail the required steps

Gaining the root permissions with KingRoot

Get root permissions is quite simple: just install the well known KingRoot.

Version 4.5.2 works very well with the latest firmware update (Android 5.0.2–120FDN1): can be downloaded from the official thread on XDA.

Download the app, install it, start it and follow on screen instructions 🙂

Replace KingRoot with SuperSU

For FlashFire compatibility (and privacy!) reasons, before proceeding with the other steps we have to replace KingRoot with SuperSU.

The procedure is always on XDA, at

  • Install SuperSu from GooglePlay
  • Send the extracted folder “mrw” to the internal storage of your device and make sure that this folder contains 4 files
  • Open Terminal emulator and type : su
  • Allow root permission
  • Type : sh /sdcard/mrw/
  • It might display some error ignore these errors, at the end it will launch supersu or open supersu manually.
  • Update SU binary from SuperSU app, then reboot.

Installing FlashFire

The beta version of Xposed for Android Lollipop needs to be installed through a package that must be flashed with a custom recovery.

However, currently there is no custom recovery for the Vodafone Smart Prime 6 (it’s a young and not very common device).

To install Xposed, we should then use a tool alternative to custom recovery: FlashFire.

Currently in beta stage, FlashFire can be downloaded joining the developers community on Google plus.

After that, sign up on Google play with the same G+ account and open this link.

Once registered, the beta link on Google Play will be provided, now you should able to download the FlashFire tool.

Installing Xposed Framework

Finally, we start to install the Xposed framework.

First, go to the Official XDA Thread, download the XposedInstaller_3.0_alpha4.apk and the latest, and copy them in phone storage.

From phone, open any file manager app, head over to the folder where you have saved the Xposed installer, and select it to confirm installation.

Open FlashFire app and provide it root access.

Now use the Flash Zip option (from ‘Plus’ button on bottom right) to install the Xposed framework that you downloaded in the above step.

The procedure can take several minutes, do not worry if the screen remains blank for a long time.

After the restart, open Xposed Installer App and verify the correct installation of the framework:


Now, you can install a full feature Greenify with xposed module!

Import a Windows physical machine into a VirtualBox virtual machine

It’s pretty simple: a small tool and 15 minutes of work

I had to help a user in the migration from an old laptop (with serious motherboard issues) to a new laptop.

Continue reading “Import a Windows physical machine into a VirtualBox virtual machine”