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Kiwicon is a New Zealand computer security conference held annually in Wellington since 2007. It brings together a variety of people interested in information security. Representatives of government agencies and corporations attend, along with hackers.

The conference format allows for talks, informal discussions, socialising, key signing and competitions. Talks are of various lengths on a wide range of subjects, usually including a wide range of techniques for modern exploits and operational security, security philosophy, New Zealand hacker history, related New Zealand law, and a few talks on more esoteric topics.

Kiwicon was founded by Adam Boileau when the annual Australian computer security conference Ruxcon was cancelled for 2007.[1]

Past Conferences[edit]

The inaugural Kiwicon was held during the weekend of 17–18 November 2007 at Victoria University of Wellington. Approximately 200 people from the New Zealand security community (and elsewhere) attended the two-day event. Talk topics included: the psychology of user security errors, information warfare, hiding files in RAM, cracking with PlayStation,[2][3] and attacks on: kiosks, telecommunications company ethernet, non-IP networks, and a serious Windows hole.[4][5][6]

Kiwicon 2k8 was held on the 27th and 28 September, with an attendance of over 250 people. A broader range of attendees arrived, with presale tickets selling out before the doors opened. Attendees were greeted with an array of video phone captures proving the insecurity of video conferencing systems. Topics included: mass surveillance, using honeypots to detect malicious servers, physical security, using search engine optimization to make websites disappear from search results, Bluetooth surveillance, Internet probe counterattacking, speed hacking, and attacks on: wired and mobile phone systems, biometrics, Citrix XenApp, and Windows Vista via heap exploitation.[7]

Kiwicon 2k9 was held during the weekend of 28th-29 November 2009 at Victoria University of Wellington for the third year running. The event sold out with an attendance of over 350 people. Talk topics included: professional vulnerability research, identifying online identities using Bayesian inference, social engineering, radio sniffing, defending against denial-of-service attacks, Linux rootkits, an introduction to the New Zealand Internet Task Force, and attacks on: physical access control systems, GPS, smart cards, shared hosting platforms, ActiveSync, iOS App Store, pagers, wireless routers, and scientific software.

Kiwicon IV was once again held on the weekend of 27th-28 November 2010 at Victoria University of Wellington, and sold out even earlier than in 2009. The title was a play on the term Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse. Some talk topics included: a survey of unpatched devices connected to the internet, fast data erasure, urban exploration, web scraping, wardriving with Arduino, New Zealand's proposed Search and Surveillance Act, and attacks on: RFID tags, Internet exchange points, Amazon Kindle, Microsoft Office and Java serialization.

For its fifth year, Kiwicon took place on 5th and 6 November 2011, at a much larger venue, the Wellington Opera House. The slogans "It Goes b00m" and "Shellcode, treason and plot", and the date of the event reference Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. Among the talk topics were: an example attack on a film studio, policing hacking from organized crime gangs, operational security, "cyberwarfare", New Zealand's new file-sharing law, automated memory corruption exploitation, Mac OS rootkitting, and attacks on: NFC transactions, iPhones, Android, and garage door openers.

Kiwicon 6 was on the 17th and 18 November 2012, again at the Wellington Opera House. Talk topics included: hacktivist communities, measuring security, security lifecycle, one-time audio passwords, Bluetooth sniffing, biohacking,[8] phishing, stealth web application reconnaissance, remote wiping smartphones connecting to Exchange,[9] a social network monitoring tool, and a wardriving motorcycle. In reference to a joke from the previous year, a homebrew beer labelled "cyberwar" was given to volunteers and sold at the afterparty.

Advertising controversy[edit]

On August 29, 2007, persons associated with Kiwicon used simple XSS attacks to spoof websites of news organisations The New Zealand Herald and New Zealand Computerworld. No actual pages on the servers were altered.[14] Similar attacks were performed in following years on different websites, but these went unreported, as is usual in mainstream press for such attacks.


  1. ^ Patrick Gray (21 August 2007). "Hackers do the haka". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 Oct 2015. 
  2. ^ "Hacker Uses Sony PlayStation 3 to Crack Passwords"
  3. ^ PlayStation speeds password probe
  4. ^ Patrick Gray (26 November 2007). "Flaw leaves Microsoft looking like a turkey". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 Oct 2015. 
  5. ^ "Kiwicon demo exposes serious Microsoft security flaw". NZ Computerworld. 25 November 2007. Retrieved 21 Oct 2015. 
  6. ^ "'Ethical' Kiwi hacker keeps Microsoft busy". Retrieved 21 Oct 2015. 
  7. ^ Ulrika Hedquist (28 August 2008). "NZ researcher warns of Vista vulnerabilities". NZ Computerworld. Retrieved 21 Oct 2015. 
  8. ^ Darren Pauli (20 November 2012). "Biohacking: Why is my kitten glowing?". SC Magazine. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Darren Pauli (19 November 2012). "Pwning Androids, iPhones with Exchange". SC Magazine. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Hurt A Hipster Hacking Androids...", May 28, 2015,
  11. ^ Top hacker exposes home detention bracelet flaw
  12. ^ "Hacker divulges card's failings"
  13. ^ "Your data: Stolen through Pixels"
  14. ^ "Hackers hit New Zealand Herald website". 29 Aug 2007. Retrieved 21 Oct 2015. 

External links[edit]