[UPDATE: The DDOS harassment has continued onto a second day hitting World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and more streamers.]
Tonight the Twitch user James “PhantomL0rd” Varga found himself in the crosshairs of a DDOSer going by the moniker DERP (under Twitter handle @DerpTrolling) decided to shut down whatever he was playing. The distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks have hit games such as Club Penguin, League of Legends, DOTA 2, and even expanded to Blizzard’s Battle.net and EA Games EA.com website.
Many of the DDOS attacks took place while PhantomL0rd was attempting to play different games on his Twitch channel causing an immense stir for the MOBA gaming community as news spread to reddit. Twitter exchanges between DerpTrolling and PhantomL0rd’s Twitter account show a little bit of a back-and-forth of him trying to get them on the phone to tell him their motives for the DDOS attacks.
During the attacks EA.com’s website did suffer a shutdown (showing an error) and the League of Legends forums and game did show some instability. LoL has been the focus of attacks in the past when LulzSec was at the helm and also extended DDOS attacks to knock out the popular gaming service so that players could not long on and play their games. This round, LoL network engineers worked around the attacks by moving their DNS around and asked players to refresh.
DOTA2 suffered a failure because while interacting with DerpTrolling, PhantomL0rd asked the DDOSer not to knock the servers offline unless “his team started losing,” and to leave the servers alone if his team won. As the match started coming to a head, his team began to fall behind and somewhat promptly the DOTA2 servers dropped offline.
Unlike LulzSec, DerpTrolling seems to be a one-trick-pony–although the stable of LulzSec’s targets during their “Titantic Takeover Tuesday” also featured League of Legends the hacking crew did go on to get into bigger trouble.
Using DDOS to make a statement or just act out for attention
Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks are a common form of vandalism used by Internet greifers like DerpTrolling seeking attention and are carried out by using numerous computer to produce a great deal of data directed at a particular IP address, domain, or website—often in the form of connection attempts—as the data piles up in the buffer of the targeted site it saturates out the legitimate traffic and makes it difficult for proper users to access that site. Popular free-to-play games such as League of Legends are easy targets because of that same popularity and the attacks inconvenience many people.
If caught @DerpTrolling’s members could be facing some stiff prison sentences. DDOS attacks in the past have seen participants arrested and jailed in the United States and United Kingdom.
The act of DDOSing is easy and unsophisticated—the fallback for online hackers who lack the skills to actually do something flashy.
PhantomL0rd gets SWATTED?
Near the end of the dog-and-circuitboard show put on by DerpTrolling, PhantomL0rd claimed that he experienced another event becoming well known to the Internet and live streamer community: he was SWATTED.
Being SWATTED is when an anonymous person calls up the local police station and tips them that something violent is happening at a given address. The police then arrive on the scene with a tactical response team (or SWAT) and proceed as if a violent crime is in progress. More often than not nothing violent is going on and the residents are treated to drawn weapons, handcuffs, or worse as the police attempt to ascertain the situation.
At approximately 5:40pm PST PhantomL0rd posted this to his Facebook page, “just had an automatic pointed at me, put in hand cuffs and sat in the back of a cop car as I watched as 6 policemen go through my whole house.. will keep you all updated,” and followed it up with an update an hour later, “woah that last post was written like shit… sorry xD.. Was shaken up I guess. Handcuffs hurt like a bitch.. I’m good guys. More updates soon, promise. Love all of you.”
The occurrence of SWATTING is not an unknown thing for live streamers and as the night wears on PhantomL0rd has been revealing more about his ordeal. Including being arrested by police at gunpoint, handcuffed, and placed in a cruiser. During another livestream at approximately 10:00pm PST he was recounting the event and was once again called away by the local police to respond to yet another tip about a threat at his house.
Not too long ago Twitch World of Warcraft streamer Swifty received a visit from the police based on a tip that there was a hostage at his house (unlike previous incidents, he was treated well.) Security researcher Brian Krebs himself was arrested and handcuffed at his home by police responding to a spoofed phone call claiming that a violent assault was happening at his home.
If PhantomL0rd has been SWATTED and harassed by police the responsibility may lie in part on the authorities for doing poor due diligence and mostly with the person who aimed the police at him. DerpTrolling was probably not the proximal cause of the police being called, but their attention and activity certainly set the stage and lit the fuse.
[UPDATE 12/30/2013 10pm PST]: PhantomL0rd restarted his livestream in order to speak about his ordeal and his arrest by the police–in which he claims they handcuffed him and placed him in a cruiser before subsequently releasing him after searching his house. About 20 minutes into the stream at 10pm, a call came on his phone from a police officer outside his door calling him out to respond to what may be another threat tip called to his place of residence.