Article Lead Image sword glows blue when you find unsecured Wi-Fi

“I will give you a name,” he said to it, “and I shall call you Sting.”


Alex La Ferla


Posted on Dec 29, 2014   Updated on May 29, 2021, 9:32 pm CDT

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies hit theaters earlier this month, capping off the trilogy of films based on J.R.R Tolkein’s book of the same name. For anyone still unfamiliar with the series, Bilbo Baggins, the trilogy’s pint-sized protagonist, wields an appropriately diminutive sword called Sting that glows blue when Orcs are nearby, giving him advanced warning if things are about to get hairy. Now, the team at wants to show you Sting’s true potential: Wardriving. gives you a step-by-step guide to hacking a toy Sting and turning it into a device that glows blue when you are in range of an unencrypted Wi-Fi network. By disassembling your plastic Sting and incorporating the Spark Core, a tiny Wi-Fi development kit, you can hack the toy’s light and enlist it to show you when you are near an unsecure network. The best part about this hack? It only requires two things: a Spark Core and a replica Sting with lights and sound, like this one.

You can also use Sting to teach owners of unencrypted networks a lesson. When the sword turns blue, push the button and slash away at the air. This prompts Sting to join the network and publishes a message: “{YOUR WI-FI NETWORK} has been vanquished!”

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OK, now you have all the info you need get out there and build your own Wi-Fi sensing Sting. We can’t promise you carrying around a toy sword will make you look cool, but someone who can confidently find free, unsecured Wi-Fi is usually pretty popular. 

Photo via Kyla Duhamel/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Dec 29, 2014, 11:16 am CST