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A Kidnapped Santa Claus Isn’t a Huge Deal with the Right Help

While most of us know that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, fewer know that he’s specifically built his big, rambling castle in the Laughing Valley. It is there that he and his workforce, the elves, sprites, pixies, and fairies that help him make his toys all live, all working hard to give the children of the world their presents each year.

Of course, as magical as Santa and his team may be, it isn’t unheard of for them to need a little help every once in a while.

The Laughing Valley sure does live up to its name. From the brook that winds its way through the emerald green banks and chuckles as it goes, to the wind that whistles a merry tune through the trees, to the cold sun that gives what heat and warmth it can to Santa’s establishments, to the poinsettias and daffodils that smile their way up through the snow. It only stands to reason that the Laughing Valley would be a place of contented happiness, and Santa Claus was proud to know that this contentment could be found in every nook and cranny of the valley he made his home and place of business.

To one side of the valley stood the Forest of Burzee, where all the elves—and even Santa himself—spent their childhoods amongst the mighty trees. At the other side, however, rose a great mountain, riddled with the Caves of the Daemons. In the middle is the peaceful and serene valley, where jolly old St. Nicholas has made his home.

Now, no one could blame you for thinking that Santa, the Santa Claus, the right jolly old elf who worked tirelessly to make the children of the world happy, would have no enemies. For a long time, you’d have been right to think that, too.

However, it wasn’t long before the Daemons who occupied the caves developed a loathing of Santa Claus, and it was largely because the toys that Santa delivered each year worked.

The mountain was home to five Daemons, each with their own cave. Closest to the ground, a broad path leads to the first of the caves, ornately decorated with intricate carvings that could easily draw in an unsuspecting witness. This was the home of the Daemon of Phishing. Just behind this cave was another cavern, much more utilitarian, this one occupied by the Daemon of Ransomware. Just beyond this entrance stood the cavernous hole that the Daemon of Data Theft called home, and if one were unfortunate enough to pass its threshold, they would find themselves approaching the heart of the mountain—the home of the Daemon of Business Failure—and all the weaving snares and traps that littered the caverns within.

Each of these caves had a small tunnel that emerged from beside it, all of which led to the last daemon’s home: the much cozier and safer-feeling cave that the Daemon of Disaster Recovery called home. The trails to this daemon’s home, while not quite as worn and traveled as the others, still showed signs of many a traveler having bypassed the other daemons in order to pay the much more pleasant Daemon of Disaster Recovery a welcome visit.

It was not long before the Daemons believed they had a reason to dislike Santa Claus and his work, and so they called a meeting to explore why that may be.

“I’m so bored,” complained the Daemon of Phishing. “Santa Claus gives all the children such neat toys, they’re happy and satisfied… no, thrilled… and aren’t tempted by my cave and all its glory.”

“I know what you mean,” replied the Daemon of Ransomware. “It’s as though Santa has warned the children about my plans, so many are on their guard whenever I approach.”

“You’re one to talk,” scoffed the Daemon of Data Theft. “I rely on you, Ransomware, to distract and confuse all those silly children so I can take their information without them realizing. If you can’t catch anyone in your web, how am I supposed to steal from them while they’re distracted?”

The Daemon of Business Failure quietly shook its ponderous head, as none of the children were letting it into their parent’s critical data on their business laptops.

“I mean, I guess I’m a little lonely, too,” chimed in the Daemon of Disaster Recovery. “If you all haven’t had any success, there really is no need for my activities.”

“It’s all that Santa Claus’ fault!” spat the Daemon of Ransomware. “His interference simply cannot be tolerated any longer. This might be my modus operandi, but we must concoct a plan to stop him in his tracks.”

All of them agreed (although the Daemon of Disaster Recovery was a little hesitant) and started plotting their strategy. Santa Claus would be easy to find—most of his hours were spent in the workshop, collaborating with his elves to create the gifts he was to distribute on Christmas Eve. The daemons determined that their best bet was to try and use their talents to prevent St. Nick from accomplishing his mission.

The Daemon of Phishing was chosen to try first, and so the very next day, the mountain dweller descended to the workshop and approached Santa and his elves as they merrily toiled away. The Daemon, putting on his most charming smile, addressed Santa Claus:

“Oh my, look at you all, so hard at work! You know, I have plenty of toys up in my cave. I’d be happy to give you all you need to fill your sleigh, you just have to come with me.”

Santa’s eyes brightened for a moment, until a small elf whose eyes had narrowed the moment the Daemon had approached, pulled the old man’s sleeve until he could whisper something in his ear.

“Oh, that’s quite all right,” Santa chuckled. “It is a sincere pleasure to create all these toys for the children of the world, and I wouldn’t want to take any too-good-to-be-true shortcuts.”

Scowling, the Daemon retreated, returning to the anxious faces of the others. He announced, “Santa does not seem to want an easy solution, so my best trap has failed.”

The next day was the Daemon of Ransomware’s turn. Using his influential magic, the Daemon caused all of the workshop’s machinery to suddenly stop. When he saw Santa, the Daemon of Ransomware approached, feigning concern. “Oh, no, your factories! How will you ever make all the toys you need if your workshop is dark?”

Santa, however, seemed unconcerned, and in a few moments the workshop surged back to life as the same small elf from the day before emerged with a triumphant look on his face.

“Ho, ho, ho! I learned long ago that, despite the most important aspect of my work happening on a single night, all the rest needs to be protected in order for me to be ready for that night. It was long ago that I was advised to maintain a backup of all my operations, just in case something were to go wrong.

Thus a second Daemon was foiled, but the next day was the Daemon of Data Theft’s turn. The daemon went straight to the workshop and found St. Nick’s all-important list of all the good children’s wishes, written in Santa’s unmistakable script. Extending his proboscis, Data Theft began slurping, removing all the ink from the document. Once finished, the daemon sought out Santa Claus.

“Santa, wait! I have the worst news! I stumbled upon the list, and I realized it was blank! How could this have happened?”

To the daemon’s shock, St. Nick simply chuckled and gestured an elf over, her hair carefully braided and draped around her shoulders. Once this elf had seen the document, she nodded, and clapping her hands three times, produced a magical whirlwind of text that swiftly repopulated the list, not an apostrophe or suffix out of place.

Santa winked at the daemon. “Good thing I always keep a backup, eh?”

Aghast, the Daemon of Data Theft retreated in defeat, and informed the others of their lack of progress. All the subterfuge and scams they had tried were for naught. However, it was the Daemon of Business Failure’s turn, and they were even more resolute than the others.

So, when Santa next took the sleigh and his crack team of reindeer out for a practice flight, his deep laughs of joy were suddenly interrupted by a lasso that wrapped around his famous belly and jerked him from his bench.

Landing heavily in the snow with a grunt, Santa was quickly bundled away by his assailants… the Daemons, led by Business Failure as his devious strategy came to light. Hurrying to a deep and secret cavern in their mountain, the Daemons soon had Santa affixed to the wall, helpless.

“Aha,” cackled four of the daemons, with Disaster Recovery hanging back, obviously conflicted. “We have him. We have him! No longer will he be able to distract the children of the world from our efforts, and they will grow up to be so vulnerable to all forms of cybercrime! Phishing Attacks will be more effective than ever, leading to Ransomware and Data Theft! Business Failure will be at an all-time high, despite everything that Disaster Recovery tries! We, the Daemons of the Caves, have finally won!”

“Eh, not really.”

Shocked, Phishing Attacks, Ransomware, Data Theft, and Business Failure spun toward the unexpected voice. The Daemon of Business Failure was the first to speak:

“It’s… you.”

Standing at the entrance to the cave was the elf who had produced the backup of Santa’s list. She arched one eyebrow at the huddled group of Daemons.

“Yep. It’s us.”

Us? The word hardly had the chance to register with the daemons before their own lasso arced over and looped around them. Somehow, the Daemons turned, only to see a freed Santa holding the other end of the rope, along with the other elf and—instilling no small amount of rage in the hogtied daemons—the Daemon of Disaster Recovery. This time, the Daemon of Ransomware spoke first.

“You, you traitor.”

Rather than shrinking back, the Daemon of Disaster Recovery fired back. “Yeah, maybe I am. Or maybe I’m just the guy who’s sick of cleaning up the messes you all make as you try to interfere with the happiness of a whole world of children.”

Scowling, Disaster Recovery stepped forward. “Every year, I watch you interfere with the joy and good tidings of people around the world. I see you influence people with little choice to convince them to spread their own misfortune through scams and cyberattacks. I observe as you four treat the world as though it’s your own little sandbox of cybercrime.”

Disaster Recovery continued to advance upon his neighbors.

“I’m done watching. From now on, I’m going to do whatever I can to help Santa and his elves here prevent these kinds of issues, teaching those in the workshop the signs of threats of all kinds.”

Disaster Recovery stopped, looking to Santa and the elves. “If that’s okay with you all, of course.”

Santa grinned, and the elves snapped up a quick salute. “Welcome to the Laughing Valley Cybersecurity Defense Squad, friend. I’m sure your expertise will be a great help.”

Now, while we here at S3 Technologies aren’t the Laughing Valley Cybersecurity Defense Squad, we’d like to think that we can serve a similar purpose for the businesses of New Mexico. Have a very happy holiday, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (505)242-5683 as your resolution for the new year.

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