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.

Q: When and where is Kawaiicon?

A: Kawaiicon will be held on the 17th and 18th of October in Wellington, New Zealand. Note that this is a Thursday and Friday. Kawaiicon is held at the Michael Fowler Centre, which is located on Wakefield St at the bottom of Cuba St. Other venue details are available on the venue page.

Q: How much is Kawaiicon?

A: Entry to Kawaiicon costs NZD99.95 for admission on both days, or NZD29.95 for students and beneficiaries. You can give us more money if you want for subsidising student tickets, in a humble-bundle style variable payment option. This is partly because we’ve been informed that the regular tickets are too cheap to expense claim in some organisations, and partly because it’s kinda hilarious when people edit the price back down to NZD99.95 to save their corporate overlords 5 cents.

Q: When can we buy tickets?

A: Tickets must be purchased through the online shop on https://kawaiicon.org. Because people usually need to wait ages to get manager sign-off on buying tickets through work, we are going to release tickets in waves. We will tweet when tickets are going live, so make sure to follow on the tweetersphere.

Q: How do we give you money?

A: Payment options are PayPal or, if you’re buying 10+ tickets, a NZ bank transfer. If you are bulk purchasing tickets (e.g. 10+ for a corporate) then we can accept direct credit to our bank account. This is a manual process for us and therefore not particularly speedy, but still faster than your corporate procurement department. Email our Corporate Accounts Department at kiwicon@kiwicon.org. If we have otherwise sold out, we will not hold corporate tickets for you without payment.

Q: Really? No cash?

A: If we haven’t sold out, then yes, you can pay cash at the door. 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 IRCS #kiwicon and ask.

Q: I’m a speaker or volunteer or some other person who feels they shouldn’t have to pay. Do I have to pay?

A: Speakers do not need to purchase tickets, but volunteers will have to purchase their own. We’re not sure who “some other person” might mean but you’re welcome to try it.

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 perilous 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 Kawaiicon have a Code of Conduct?

A: Yes!. You need to read and agree to it before you buy a ticket.

The Code can be simplified down to “Don’t be a shitweasel.”*. The longer version is a modified version of the Google events one, because it was published under the Creative Commons Zero license after lawyers looked at it and the Crue is unlikely to do better. You can find a copy of it here.

The Crue is aware that some of you may feel anxiety about what behavior may constitute shitweaselry 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.

As a digression, the Crue notes with some frustration that informing it of lapses in polite behavior after the ‘con is over makes the Code 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, so we can Do Something About It.

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 harassed 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. Around their necks.

v) the one that was videoing people and their conversations without their consent

When the con 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.

  • http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/wheatons-law, except with shitweasel because we made the word up and quite like it.

Q: Who should come to Kawaiicon? Will it be too technical for me? What about children?

A: Computer security affects nearly everyone in contemporary society, and so many of the topics discussed will be of interest to the interested lay-person, even if some of the nitty-gritty detail is opaque.

Children are welcome to attend Kawaiicon. Heck, a lil’ hacker won the locksport competition last year, and wore the tiara very well. We do 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. Email us if this is you!). Kuracon will be running again this year, and we will have childcare available on site.

Q: Isn’t hacking illegal?

A: 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 Kawaiicon could be used to break the law, so it is your individual responsibility 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 Kawaiicon 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: Networks at hacker cons can be fucking hostile, so ensure your computer is patched, firewalled and secured per industry best practice. If your device is equipped with wireless networking or bluetooth, turned off these features if you’re not confident of your ability to secure it. If you can’t tear yourself away from the internet there is a free wireless network, but for some reason connections tend to be a bit shithouse during Kawaiicon.

We would recommend bringing your own cellular internets instead. Or a whole cellnet in a van; watch out for the MED huffduff. Kawaiicon takes no responsibility and will only offer thoughts and prayers for the physical or information security of your system. Stay frosty and check those corners.

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 Kawaiicon 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 shiny boots taking pictures of each and every slide everyone’s going to assume you’re .mil.

Q: Is this event legitimate? How come you haven’t been arrested yet?

A: Kawaiicon 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 those charges were dropped.

Q: What is the 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 Kawaiicon 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 acceptable, but skirt danger in a city known for its wind gusts.

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. We promote responsible drinking. There will be alternatives available, and we have a friend of bill nearby if that should that be something you are interested in.

Q: Food is good, right, what about food?

A: There will be food to purchase at the venue, and the great folks at Food for the People will be parked outside again this year (even after we bullied them into deep-frying cheese for us). If the queues are as lengthy as they tend to be, we recommend taking a mosey up Cuba St, where there is plenty of choice.

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 around the venue. This is Wellington, not Canberra.

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

A: Hackers are just people who enjoy exploring, understanding, and using technology creatively. Many are interested in the security of computers and phones, but as the internet becomes ubiquitous, hackers of different kinds are looking at everything from home automation systems to electric scooters to fitness trackers. The popular perception of a ‘hacker’ is synonymous with ‘computer criminal’, and some computer criminals are hackers, or low-level staffers in the National Party who probably weren’t even wearing black hoodies when they were typing into the Treasury search box. For shame.

However, the prevention of electronic crimes and the defenses of modern networked systems are ensured by computer security professionals; nearly all of whom will often self-identify as hackers, if only because it makes them sound like badasses.

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 Kawaiicon?

A: Yes. Security consultants, infosec auditors, and policy wonks should all come to Kawaiicon. If your manager thinks that Kawaiicon 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 beverage of choice.

Q: Can you hack my wife/girlfriend’s cell phone/email?

A: What the fuck is wrong with you?

Q: Do you get any non-creepy weird email?

A: Yes (see above)

Q: I have a question…

A: Email us at kiwicon@kiwicon.org