the black cloud of darkness

Frequently Asked And Occasionally Pondered Questions

As has become the custom in these parts, we will attempt to provide answers to your questions, thus saving you from asking them.

Some of these questions might look familiar.

[Questions] - top

[FAQ] -


Q: When and where is Kiwicon?

A: Kiwicon 3 will be held on the weekend of 28th-29th November in Wellington, New Zealand. The conference venue is Victoria University of Wellington's Pipitea campus, located in central Wellington. A map and other venue details are available on the venue page.

Q: How much is Kiwicon?

A: Entry to Kiwicon III will cost NZ$50, or NZ$30 for students and beneficiaries. This will entitle you to admission on both days.

Q: When can we buy tickets?

A: Tickets will be available at the entrance to the Con, or available for presale the night before the Con. If you are in Wellington on the evening before the Con, prepurchasing tickets will allow you to avoid the queue on Saturday morning (please check the website closer to the Con for time and location of presales.) To help with planning, we'd appreciate it if you would fill in the registration form on the website.

Q: How do we give you money?

A: The only payment method available is sweet, anonymous cash, payable at the Con.

Q: Really? No credit cards?

A: Hrm. You want to give your credit card details to a bunch of hackers? Seriously?

Q: Do we get a receipt?

A: Receipts will be available upon request.

Q: Can I talk about project X?

A: Yes. We adhere to the Chatam House Rule;
- "When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. "

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. Many of the techniques discussed at Kiwicon can be used to break the law, so strong moral guidance is reccomended for those of all ages.

Q: Isn't hacking illegal?

A: There are plenty of ways of breaking the law. The New Zealand Crimes Act (available online at 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 comply with the law, and 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 a slightly overweight samoan wearing a loud shirt who could 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 will be a Kiwicon wireless network available with limited internet access if you can't tear yourself away from your Blog, WoW or IRC. 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, however some people at Kiwicon may be sensitive about having their picture taken by a stranger without warning. Please ask your subjects before you soul-trap them with your futuristic picture-box.

Q: Is this event legitimate? How come you havn'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.

Q: What is the Kiwicon dress code?

A: Okay, lets 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 whos eyeballs you're about to sear with your quivering, naked goosey nerdflesh. Kilts are encouraged.

Q: I like beer. Can we drink at the conference?

A: Given that the conference is open to all ages drinking onsite will not be tolerated. In fact, Victoria University wouldn't be happy with us doing that at all. There are several establishments close by with an ample stock of Lion Red and equally cheap vodka.

Q: What about coffee? Hackers run on caffeine, right? There must be coffee!

A: There will be an ample supply of coffee in and around the venue.

Q: What is a hacker? Aren't hackers bad?

A: Hackers are compulsive destroyers of "Warranty Void if Broken" stickers. 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 guys should all come to Kiwicon. If your manager thinks that Kiwicon isn't the sort of place your company should be seen, bring him too. We guarantee you'll both learn something new and interesting, have a good time, and make important contacts. You could leave your tie at home, though.

Q: Did you hack the New Zealand Herald's website? Didn't you guys hack trademe? What's this weird javascript thing? You're bad! BAD!

A: No one hacked any heralds. There might have been a couple of errant javascript files elsewhere on the internet that gave that impression, but their mighty boxen are unsullied by this particular bunch of ragamuffins.

Q: I have a question...

A: Email us at