How the Hacker Stole Christmas

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About the author:
Pete Herzog is a hacker, writer, researcher, and co-founder of the non-profit, security research Institute for Security and Open Methodologies (ISECOM). He's also known for creating the international standard for security testing (OSSTMM), the Open Source Cybersecurity Playbook, and Hacker Highschool. You can find them at,, and

How the Hacker Stole Christmas

Authored by Pete Herzog
Illustrated by Ayla Madison Herzog Barceló, Carmen Sullo
Producer Marta Barceló Jordan

For Children Everywhere
who aren’t staring at a screen.

That's how this book begins. It's a playful, funny parody of the Christmas classic with a modern setting, a modern theme, and a modern villain.

The Hacker hated the holidays! The whole holiday break!
Her reasons lacked specifics but she found it incredibly fake.
It could be blamed on teenage hormonal change,
Or a not fully developed emotional range.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been, due to teasing, she’d put up a wall.

In this story a sad, angry teen lashes out against her classmates on Christmas break because she's sick of how they act and how they treat her. She's sick of them staring at their phone screens, bullying her, taking selfies, their addiction to likes and everything that's wrong around the social use of technology today. So she does something about it.

Watch how the traditional themes of Christmas explode apart in this funny, touching, technologically correct (we get the hacking bits right), and a little too realistic story of Christmas.

So what happens when this hacker takes out electronic distractions on Christmas Eve? What happens when the teens can't post pictures of their presents on Christmas day? Does the town get together and learn the meaning of Christmas? Or did the hacker steal that too?

This story has been created by the team behind Hacker Highschool, a non-profit initiative to use hacking as a learning methodology to engage teens, improve cybersafety awareness, and train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. In this project we see teens freely using technology that they have no understanding of the risks consequences. So this story was written as a fun and informative way to bring attention to the drowning effect of technology in the hands of kids today and how nobody is teaching them to swim.

The book has been co-illustrated by the (then) 13-year-old Ayla Madison of Youtube and Instagram's Happy Mopey which gives it that authentic teenage feel and Carmen Sullo, an ontological leadership coach with a special interest in all things art and family.

This book is fun for everyone and it has many learning points about hacking, technology, society, and self esteem.

Publication Date:
0978520793 / 9780978520793
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6.14" x 9.21"
Full Color
Related Categories:
Humor / Form / Parodies

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