As has become the custom in these parts, we will attempt to pre-emptively answer your questions, thus saving you from asking them. Some of these questions might look familiar.
- When and where is Kiwicon?
- How much is Kiwicon?
- What's this about HIGH ROLLING?
- When can we buy tickets?
- How do we give you money?
- Really? No cash?
- I'm a speaker or event-organiser or some other person who feels they shouldn't have to pay. Do I have to pay?
- Do we get a receipt?
- Does Kiwicon have a Code of Conduct?
- Can I talk about project X?
- Who should come to Kiwicon? Will it be too technical for me? What about children?
- Isn't hacking illegal?
- Should I bring a computer?
- Can I bring a camera? Take pictures?
- Is this event legitimate? How come you haven't been arrested yet?
- What is the Kiwicon dress code?
- I like beer. Can we drink at the conference?
- What about coffee? Hackers run on caffeine, right? There must be coffee!
- What is a hacker? Aren't hackers bad?
- I'm a corporate IT security professional... Should I come to Kiwicon?
- Can you hack my wife/girlfriend’s cellphone/email?
- I have a question…
Q: When and where is Kiwicon?
A: Kiwicon 8 will be held on the 11th and 12th of December in Wellington, New Zealand. Note that this is a Thursday and Friday, not a weekend as per every other ‘con. The venue has also changed. It is now being held at the St James Theatre, very close to the Opera House. It is in much the same state of faded velvet and peeling gilt grandeur, but is much less of a fire hazard. It is located on Courtenay Place in central Wellington. A map and other venue details are available on the venue page.
Q: How much is Kiwicon?
A: Entry to Kiwicon will cost a minimum of NZ$80, or NZ$30 for students and beneficiaries. This will entitle you to admission on both days. We are also introducing a humble-bundle style variable payment option, where you can give us more money if you want, for such worthy causes as subsidising student tickets, or for pyrotechnics, or both. This is partly because we've been informed that the regular tickets are too cheap to expense claim in some organisations, so you can set your own enterprise markup. If you're feeling particularly flush with cash, secrets, limited edition inks, or whisky older than some of the attendees, you can splash out on the blind auction for a HIGH ROLLER ticket, which entitles you to a lazyboy seat and whatever garish atrocity has resulted from Sharrow and the Craftocpocalypse.
Q: Whats this about HIGH ROLLING?
A: A strictly limited number of HIGH ROLLER tickets are available via a blind auction process. When you buy your regular ticket, you may nominate an amount of money you would pay to ROLL HIGH. If you do not nominate this as HIGH ROLLER money, we will be grateful, but you will be shit out of luck. At some point (date TBC) the top n HIGH ROLLERS (for values of n <= seats) will be contacted, and if they actually pony up their cash, will be awarded their PREMIUM status. HIGH ROLLERS will recieve all kinds of special treatment, and will be ensconced in Statler and Waldorf grade comfort. Previous HIGH ROLLERS may be disappointed to learn that they won’t be able to relax in the glorious environs of their very own box seats as the sight lines are completely blocked. Instead, we’ll put you right down the front in a lazyboy chair and buckets of fake roses to throw at the speakers. The roses, not the buckets.
Q: When can we buy tickets?
A: Tickets must be purchased through the online shop on kiwicon.org; door sales will only be available if we don't sell out. (The uh, venue we mean. We've obviously long sold out. It was not that great and we didn’t even get a pony).
Q: How do we give you money?
A: Payment options are PayPal (credit card, or your paypal balance you obtained through "affiliate marketing"), Bitcoin, or if you're buying 6+ tickets, we can arrange NZ bank transfer or similar.
Q: Really? No cash?
A: If we haven't run out of tickets, then yes, you can pay cash at the door, but we cannot guarantee that we will not sell out. If you really can't or don't want to pay by credit card, and you're in the vicinity of the Wellington or Auckland CBDs, you might be able to talk one of the organising Crue into accepting your cash, and giving you a discount code to use during the checkout process. Drop by on IRCS #kiwicon and ask.
If you are bulk purchasing tickets (e.g. 6+ for a corporate) then we can accept direct credit to our bank account, however this is a manual process for us, and hence perhaps not particularly speedy. We are still probably faster than your corporate procurements department. Email our Corporate Accounts Department at email@example.com.
Q: I'm a speaker or trainer or volunteer or some other person who feels they shouldn't have to pay. Do I have to pay?
A: If you're a speaker or trainer, no, you do not need to pay for your ticket. You will have to register to buy your own merch, however. Volunteers do need to pay, sorry, for both ticket and merch. This is not because we’re not tremendously grateful for the help: even the Crue buys their own merch. If you're not a speaker, and you do get a freebie, you should buy a ticket using the discount code provided.
Q: Do we get a (GST) receipt?
A: Yes, you'll get an email receipt with a GST number on it. Our previous efforts at sailing the wide accountansea resulted in the IRD actually ringing us up and laughing at us, so we have retained the services of a professional. The IRD, much like the Wu-Tang Clan, ain’t nothing to fuck with.
Q: Does Kiwicon have a Code of Conduct?
A: Yes, and you should probably read it before you tick the checkbox and buy a ticket.
The Code can be simplified down to "Don't be a shitweasel."*. The longer version, and the one that the checkbox referred to, is a modifed version of the Google events one. Mostly because it's presumably been gone over by lawyers and was published under the Creative Commons Zero license. You can find a copy of it here.
The Crue is aware that some of you may feel anxiety about what behavior may constitute nuggetry and have provided some examples from past conferences below. This is not a definitive list and the Crue will cast a baleful glare on rules lawyering.
Before going on this digression, the Crue notes with some frustration that informing it of lapses after the 'con is over makes the Code somewhat harder to apply. We do not have a time machine, and if we did we would probably be screwing around with the fossil record or dumping anti-vaxxers in the middle of a smallpox epidemic. Please let us know as soon as you are able to.
Plausibly Anonymous Shitweasels We Have Known:
i) the one that screwed around with the conference wireless during a presentation's live demo...that needed access to the internet...and when the speaker halted it and said Hey, I can't go ahead, can whoever is doing this please quit it? Didn’t.
ii) the one that harrassed multiple people by refusing to admit that personal space is generally an invite-only thing. Also by refusing to note that stroking the back of people's arms is generally not how most people say 'Hi!'
iii) the one that introduced themselves to a speaker with some bland small talk before a segue into asking what sort of porn they liked to watch.
iv) the one that was yanking people's badges around in order to win the tag-reading game. The ‘con badges. On lanyards. That people were wearing.
When Kiwicon was smaller it was easier to keep an eye on everything, and everyone. Now we can't, so if you see something, do the whole ethical bystander thing, would you? Most of you are just fantastic - the ushers every year reckon we're one of the nicest crowds they have through - but one shitweasel can ruin the 'con for a surprising amount of people.
If you in your poorly socialised nerdly glory are worried about being an unintentional shitweasel, the Crue in its poorly socialised nerdly glory sympathises with you. We have commissioned a couple of adaptive devices. You can wear them safe in the knowledge that even if you've been drinking, or are tired, or are just reading the situation wrong, you will always be aware if you are infringing on someone's personal space.
Having said that, Kiwicon is an informal sort of event. If you tend to make snorting noises like an asthmatic elephant to yourself when people say fuck (or cockbite, or fucktoad), or are prone to writing impassioned letters to the editor about the youth of today the 'con will probably inspire all the joy felt by an insomniac listening to a mosquito.
* http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/wheatons-law, except with shitweasel because we made the word up and quite like it.
Q: Can I talk about *sideways glance* project X?
A: Well, its a public event. If something's not suitable for public discourse, you prolly better not say it, especially if it violates your security clearance. There’s a reasonable chance people will be taking notes, twittering, liveblogging and other shortforms of questionable punditry.
Q: Who should come to Kiwicon? Will it be too technical for me? What about children?
A: Kiwicon is primarily geared towards pretty technical computer security topics. Computer nerds, geeks, and people who think lego is awesome will be in the majority for once. However, computer security affects a wide range of people in modern society, and so many of the topics discussed will be of interest to the lay-person, even if some of the nitty-gritty detail is opaque. Children are welcome to attend Kiwicon, however we'd request that children below the age of 14 are accompanied by a parent or guardian (there will be no charge for the guardian or parent to attend).
Q: Isn't hacking illegal?
A: According to our once and future PM, if you leave your site unsecured, it’s your own fault if it’s compromised, especially if blah blah rugby*. However, the New Zealand Crimes Act (available online at www.legislation.govt.nz) sections 248-254 document laws which criminalise certain acts involving computers. Some of the techniques discussed at Kiwicon could be used to break the law, so it is your individual responsiblity to ensure that you utilise your powers for good, not evil. If you are unsure of your legal position, consult a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer we do have one slightly degenerate looking individual who managed to score free beers from Sony through only the powers of legal chicanery, and who may be able to help, at a pinch. Under no circumstances to do the organisers of Kiwicon condone breaking the law (unless it's the Judas Priest song, in which case, we heartily throw up the horns. (So I guess, technically, that would be under one circumstance then.))
Q: Should I bring a computer?
A: You are welcome to bring a laptop or other computing device. Networks at hacker cons can be somewhat, uh, hostile, so it might be prudent to ensure that your system is patched, firewalled and secured per industry best practice. If your device is equipped with wireless networking or bluetooth, consider that it might be best left turned off if you're not confident of your ability to secure it. There is a commercial wireless network (CafeNet), and probably the Wellington City Free Wireless at the venue if you can't tear yourself away from the internet, but for some reason wireless tends to be a bit shithouse during Kiwicon. We can't imagine why. You may wish to consider bringing your own cellular internets instead. Or a whole cellnet in a van; watch out for the MED huffduff. Kiwicon takes no responsibility for the physical or information security of your system, so be vigilant. Stay frosty and check those corners, people!
Q: Can I bring a camera? Take pictures?
A: Yes, you can bring a camera, but you should gain permission before you start pointing it at other attendees. Some people at Kiwicon may be sensitive about having their picture taken by a stranger without warning. Ask your subjects before you soul-trap them with your futuristic picture-box. If you show up with a no 2 haircut and take pictures of each and every slide we’re just going to assume you’re .mil and you’re not really looking forward to the debrief.
Q: Is this event legitimate? How come you haven't been arrested yet?
A: Kiwicon is 100% legitimate. The goal is to share knowledge about computer security in New Zealand, and the event is being organised by some of New Zealand's most experienced security industry professionals. As with any subject, knowledge can be wielded for both good and evil. The organisers believe that open and honest discussion of security issues is a critical step towards securing technological systems.
Also, no one’s been arrested since the first Kiwicon and the charges were dropped.
Q: What is the Kiwicon dress code?
A: Okay, let's be honest here. Hackers tend to hang out indoors and perform sedentary activities. As a group, we're not the prettiest bunch. So, we'd request that you attend Kiwicon fully clothed. Pants are not optional. If you need to perform some act which is impaired by your clothing, please obtain the adult consent of all parties whose eyeballs you're about to sear with your quivering, naked goosey nerdflesh. Kilts are encouraged, but attempt to not stand over the under-floor venting.
Q: I like beer. Can we drink at the conference?
A: The conference is open to all ages and there will be beer onsite. You will have to verify your age before you can purchase alcohol. If you are incapable of having a couple of quiets without turning into a raging douchebag, then do not be surprised if you are ejected from the event.
Q: What about coffee? Hackers run on caffeine, right? There must be coffee!
A: There will be two (2!) coffee stations in the venue itself, not to mention an ample supply of coffee in and around the venue.
Q: What is a hacker? Aren't hackers bad?
A: They are people who enjoy exploring, understanding, and using technology creatively. Many hackers are interested in the security of computer systems, but as technology develops, hackers of different kinds are pushing the limits of cars, gadgets, and various media. However, the general perception of a 'hacker' is synonymous with 'computer criminal', and indeed some computer criminals are hackers. However, the prevention of electronic crimes and the defenses of modern networked systems are ensured by computer security professionals; the best of whom will often self-identify as hackers!
Hackers value elegant, creative and often playful solutions to technical challenges; combining the role of inventor and artist in an industry that many laypeople would consider staid. In a world where society's technological dependence is as obvious as the technology itself is opaque, hackers provide the tools and language for social conscience, balance and freedom.
Q: I'm a corporate IT security professional. I wear a tie, have a CISSP and begin every sentence with "In regards to..." Should I come to Kiwicon?
A: Yes. Security consultants, infosec auditors, and even policy wonks should all come to Kiwicon. If your manager thinks that Kiwicon isn't the sort of place your company should be seen, bring them too. We guarantee you'll both learn something new and interesting, have a good time, and make important contacts. PCI auditors are encouraged to lurk at the end of the bar and cry into their Cyber Laupers.
Q: Can you hack my wife/girlfriend’s cellphone/email?
A: What the fuck is wrong with you?
Q: Do you get any non-creepy weird email?
Q: I have a question...
A: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org