Hackers knock League of Legends offline

League of Legends screenshot Millions of people play battle arena game League of Legends every day

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Hugely popular online game League of Legends (LoL) was knocked offline for a few hours on 30 December by hackers.

It was one of several games and social media sites targeted by the Derp hacking group.

Reports suggest the attack was more mischievous than malicious and was partly aimed at US pro-gamer James Varga.

The attack ended with police calling at Mr Varga's house in response to a fake call saying hostages were held there.

Armed response

The Derp hacking group claimed responsibility for the attack on League of Legends and Mr Varga, aka PhantomL0rd via its Twitter account.

The attack began early on Monday with the group bombarding US and European servers with huge amounts of data to knock them offline. Later in the day the game's Asian servers were knocked offline with the same tactic.

The group switched its focus to Mr Varga who had been documenting LoL's ongoing problems and the Derp group's claim of responsibility via his daily Twitch TV video stream.

Twitch TV is a streaming service that lets people share their live gaming experiences with others. LoL is by far the most popular game watched via Twitch.

Mr Varga's interaction with Derp led it to pursue him through every game he tried to play. By the time the attack was done, the Derp group had caused intermittent problems for people using EA.com. Blizzard's Battlenet, Dota 2, Quake Live, Club Penguin, Reddit and other sites.

The hacking group said it carried out the series of attacks for "the lulz" in a text chat with Mr Varga that took place while he was being pursued through different games.

During the attack Mr Varga's personal details, including his home address, were posted online. This led someone to place a prank call to his local police department claiming hostages were being held at Mr Varga's home.

More than a dozen armed police responded to the call, which resulted in Mr Varga being arrested and handcuffed. Police then searched his house, but he was released once it became clear that the call was fake.

"I'm still quite shaken up, but I'm good. I'm okay," he said in a YouTube video posted after he was released by police.

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