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The hoodies behind Zerocopter

Get to know us! We are happy to introduce you to our new blog series, where a different member of the team is introduced on the second Monday of each month. In these posts, you can find out more about the hoodies behind Zerocopter!

Our first conversation is with Chantal Stekelenburg. She is our Head of Researchers at Zerocopter and she takes care of one of the most important aspects of Zerocopter: the community of researchers.

Please tell us a bit about yourself, who is Chantal Stekelenburg?

I am Chantal Stekelenburg, Head of Researchers at Zerocopter, founder of Women in Cybersecurity Community Association (WICCA), police volunteer, podcaster (angrynerds) and in my spare time I like to listen to true crime podcasts and read thrillers.

How would you describe your job title in a couple of words?

I take care of one of the most important aspects of Zerocopter's services: our community of researchers. My focus lies on supporting and coaching our current researcher community as well as nurturing the growth of our researcher community as the customer base grows.

What do you like about working as the Head of Researchers? 

I like being able to advance our researcher community by helping them out, supporting them, getting things done together, meeting them and connecting them to the right people and companies. In the past five years at Zerocopter I was able to meet so many people from hackers to CISOs and that has given me the opportunity to build an amazing network of people that I can connect with each other, so that they can work together to make the world a safer place.

How did you end up at Zerocopter?

As a little girl I used to fix appliances with my dad, we would tinker with computers, and he taught me how to make a glittery website. But I ended up studying communication & multimedia design, graduating in user experience design. I worked for a couple of years in user experience design and online marketing finding the technical side of it very interesting, but I was missing something. So, I quit my job, started an experience design traineeship, and ended up doing that at Zerocopter! So, a total coincidence, but I loved it from the beginning. I was fascinated by what was possible and although I was there for marketing, I started doing projects not entirely related to that. I got to learn more and more and eventually became head of researchers.

If you could trade positions with anyone in Zerocopter for a day, what would it be and why? 

Since I was Head of Operations before becoming Head of Researchers, I have done almost everything in the company, but I think I would trade with triage because I love seeing the awesome reports we get for our customers.

What have you learned from working at Zerocopter? 

I have learned that communication is key from all sides. If we do not communicate clearly then we fail to make the world a safer place.

When was the first time that you heard about the term “Bug Bounty” or “Responsible Disclosure/Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure”?

I cannot remember, probably at my interview.

What resources (books/podcasts/courses etc) would you recommend to someone (new) in this industry?

There are so many resources out there and the field is enormous, so I would say if you found something interesting, spend some time looking for good resources. I love DFIR diva’s resources page because you can find something on most subjects and for any budget: If you want to listen to some interesting stories about hacking, then I recommend Darknet Diaries. And my go to OSINT resource is

What is your favourite stereotype about the hacking industry and why? 

I am very passionate about the term hacker being used for criminals that use hacking. As Wikipedia says: “A hacker is a person skilled in information technology who uses their technical knowledge to achieve a goal or overcome an obstacle, within a computerized system by non-standard means.” The core of this is very creative and of very good use. So, when media/companies/people use the term “Hacker” for criminals that ransomware a company or DDoS an organization, I always feel a cringe. If possible, I try to explain that these are just criminals, because calling them hackers puts a stigma on the good ones.

Do you have a (hacker)handle/username? And what is the story behind that name?

My handle is MiFare_Lady. WICCA co-founder Valentine gave me this name when we were playing around with a proxmark to clone some access cards at the hardware security conference

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Chantal a little better! Stay tuned for our next post in January!

Written by Zerocopter

December 13, 2021

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