VERA-NG is the combination of wireless hacking and the greatness of Nerf Guns. I was motivated to build VERA-NG during ShmooCon
2009 after seeing all the ShmooBall Launchers. I was thinking of building
something that I could shoot around in the lab and also combines my pastime of wireless auditing. I
decided a Nerf gun was probably the best base. And being a low on fund college student I decided to build the
high-gain antennas and "budget" components.
Having seen both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth snipping guns in the past, I decided to step things up a notch by combining the two together.
Since another common component of wireless auditing is war-driving, I also decided to add a GPS into the mix.
I started by ordering the Nerf Longshot CS-6. It has a long base to add components to and the front part detaches to become a separate Nerf Gun. Before adding any of the other peripherals,
I followed the instructions here to give a little boost to the range of
the Longshot :)
I wanted to make every component easily detachable. I decided industrial strength velcro would be the easiest way to mount all the components to the Longshot.
Industrial strength velcro is strong, cheap, and the adhesive side will hold on to any surface like a death grip (unless you get the oil from your hand on the adhesive, major No No).
The only other additions directly attached to the gun are two angle brackets (for attaching the antennas).
I then cut the velcro and attached it the flat areas all over the Longshot. I mounted the rough “hook” side to the Longshot and the soft “loop” side to the components.
The angle brackets were attached on either side of the front portion of the Longshot with two 1/4 inch screws for each bracket. This was because I felt the velcro would not be strong enough
to hold the antennas by itself. Velcro was then added to the bottom and side of the brackets.
Of all the USB peripheral devices (listed here
) the only modifications made were to the Zoom Bluetooth dongle. The original antenna was removed and an SMA male connector was soldering on. I then added some hot
glue to solidify the SMA connector to the dongle plastic casing. This allows it to connect to an external antenna (or canntenna).
The soft half of the verlcro was stuck to the peripherals so they can be attached to the Longshot.
All of the USB devices are connected through a CyberPower Mobile Battery Powered 4-Port USB Hub (CP-H420MP)
This hub was chosen because the the Fujistu U810 tablet only has one USB interface, so additional USB plugs and power are required for the peripheral dongles. The USB hub takes 4 AAA batteries
and the hub can actually recharge to batteries itself.
The Fujitsu u810
tablet was chosen because of its small size and tablet capabilities. Mounting the tablet on the right side of the Longshot allows for interaction with the tablet while the
Longshot hangs from the shoulder strap. I have loaded Katana
on the tablet to run everything.
Most of the work ended up being building the cantenna. I followed the directions
from O'Reilly on building the antennas our of Pringles cans (or cantennas).
The only difference from in my canntenna is that I used the Super Stack Pringles cans which are a bit taller then the normal cans.
According to O'Reilly, the cantennas get around a 12dbi gain.
The soft side of the velcro was stuck to the cantennas so they could be attached to the angle brackets on the front of the Longshot.
With the cantennas attached, VERA-NG is up and running! Having little experience with messing around with hardware I was pleasantly surprised that everything worked the first try.
See some of the upcoming articles for more on my adventures with VERA-NG.