How Popular Streamer James “PhantomL0rd” Varga Made Money From DERP DDoS Attacks


Recently Gaming servers for League of Legends, Dota 2,, Club Penguin, and Quake Live, as well as servers for and Blizzard, were knocked down in the US and Europe for anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours by DDoS attack by hacker group DERP.

DERP said they attacked gaming servers as pure trolls, simply for the lulz. After going public with their intentions on Twitter, Varga noticed it was also affecting his servers and contacted DERP via private text chat. He began communicating with them, even passing on questions his fans had about why DERP was doing what they were doing, to which DERP said they wanted to make money-hungry companies like EA mad.


Varga then made a deal with DERP over his Twitch livestream; if his team began losing, DERP would DDoS his server, one of the few that weren’t down at the time. Varga’s team began to lose, and the hackers kept their promise.

 Varga reached out to DERP instead of alerting moderators and site operators in an attempt to boost his subscriber count. This went on for hours, and rather than stop streaming, Varga watched his viewer count skyrocket past 100,000. All the while, he displayed advertisements and raked in new subscribers at $4.99 per month per membership. Varga put his channel in “sub mode,” which means that the only way to participate in the conversation via chat is to pay.

As Varga’s stream continued and more games were taken down, including Disney’s Club Penguin, he reveled in his role. “It’s chill to intervene with you, the public, the fans, and with these guys,” he says. As Varga watched his revenue increase, EA, Riot Games, Valve, Disney, and others were crippled and their businesses impacted. Yet, Twitch allowed the stream to remain live. It allowed Varga to casually make deals with the DDoSers in conflict with Twitch’s own terms of service.

Word had spread that Varga was in contact with the DDoSers and he essentially held court among curious gamers wanting to be close to the action, for a fee. According to metric monitoring site SocialBlade, Varga picked up 14,000 new subscribers on Monday during the server outages. At $4.99 per person to subscribe, stats indicate that Varga’s channel pulled in $69,860 that Monday (it’s not clear how much of a cut Twitch takes), refuting his claim that these DDoSers prevented him from making a living that day.

Further, all the video evidence Varga himself posted shows he wasn’t an unassuming victim as he joked with DERP and actually welcomed the DDoS attack on his server should his team start losing.

As things escalated, armed cops showed up at his door over a fake “hostage situation” someone had called in as a prank. At some point, DERP also sent him pizza.The BBC reported that “more than a dozen armed police responded to the call, which resulted in Mr Varga being arrested and handcuffed,” a fact they got from a video by Varga. VentureBeat wrote that Varga took photos and a video of the police officers and shared them on his livestream, “so he could prove he wasn’t lying,” words again from Varga.

The police arrest story increased his global profile. Even newspapers in Sweden wrote about his “ordeal.” Besides gaining paying subscribers on Twitch on Monday and Tuesday, Varga picked up more than 9,000 YouTube subscribers immediately following the DDoS/arrest story. There is no subscriber revenue on YouTube, but SocialBlade calculated his yearly earning estimate off ads is as high as $184,000. So unlike the gaming companies that lost revenue during the server downtime, Varga made a tidy profit off the backs of a cyber crime perpetrated by someone else.

Sources: Game Informer, Motherboard, Venturebeat, Socialblade, BBC, aftonbladet .

So in our opinion: Twitch And Popular Streamer “PhantomL0rd” Share Blame For Server Outages !Have your say by commenting below.

  • ilovegoogleglass

    Lol, He scored big…

  • webnesia

    He made more than $69,860 in single day

  • Diago

    If he wants to save he’s ass he better send the lions part of that money to the police department.

  • Dakan45

    Good, screw them corperations and mah teh moneys!!!

  • luvthesnapper

    kind of scummy. part of the problem, not the solution.