Skip to content
Gamer swatted while live-streaming on Twitch.TV
Naked Security Naked Security

Gamer swatted while live-streaming on Twitch.TV

A gamer has been targeted by anonymous trolls in the middle of a Twitch stream of RuneScape.

A gamer has posted a video of his tearful reaction after he was swatted in the middle of a live Twitch stream of RuneScape.

The video shows him just moments after armed police stormed his house, pointed their guns at his 10-year-old brother who answered the door, and forced the gamer himself to lie face down on the floor in yet another swatting incident in the gamer community.

I see you posting my address. I had police point a gun at my little brothers because of you. They could have been shot. They could have died. Because you chose to swat my stream. I don’t give a sh*t about what you have against me, or what I did to you. For that I am ... I am at a loss for words. Your gripe is with me. So let it be with me. But do not involve my family in any way, shape or form with this. They don’t deserve that.

Joshua Peters, 27, goes by the alias Koopatroopa787 to live-stream his gaming on Twitch.TV for almost 60,000 followers from his home in St. Cloud, Minnesota, in the US.

On Wednesday, while he streamed during RuneScape, his noise-canceling headphones muffled the sounds of the 10 armed police who stormed his house.

His live stream from that day shows Peters’s reaction when his mother’s voice penetrates the headphones to inform him that the police are there.

He arose, confused and concerned, told his followers that the police were there, and left the screen.

After some 15 minutes, Peters returned to the live stream to leave the emotional message above for whomever did this to him and his family.

The next day, he told The Guardian that he hadn’t seen it coming:

My channel's not crazy big, like some of these other mainstream streamers. I just didn’t expect that. I was going upstairs, and before I knew it, my face was on a tile on the ground, hands wide open and a bunch of police officers with assault rifles.

Swatting is the practice of making bogus emergency calls, as a prank or as revenge, with the hopes of getting armed law enforcement or other emergency responders to descend on a victim.

In Peters’s case, he told viewers later, the perpetrator called to tell police that someone “had shot their roommate and now they were pointing their gun at them”. “Two gun shots” were apparently heard before the call ended.

Swatting is far from new, particularly with regards to Twitch.TV, where it’s becoming more and more common, with the responsible trolls seldom suffering consequences.

In fact, a live video platform such as Twitch adds a voyeuristic twist to this already puerile, dangerous stunt, allowing the perpetrators to watch the whole situation unfold, live, with a built-in audience.

Although this was the first swatting incident the St. Cloud police say they’ve experienced, like most police nowadays, they’re familiar with the practice.

In fact, just the mention of Twitch helped to defuse the situation, Peters said:

When we were all laying down, I spoke out. I said 'I stream on Twitch.TV, I’m being swatted, and someone probably prank-called this'. And then the tone shifted as soon as I said 'I'm streaming on Twitch.TV.'

But the swatter(s) didn’t leave it at just one incident. He, or she, or they, tried again, posing as one of Peters’s family members to call police and tell them he was suicidal about the raid.

Fortunately, the police didn’t rise to the bait the second time. They made sure to vet the call before wasting their time responding to yet another prank.

Peters is one of many who’ve been either randomly targeted or purposefully singled out as part of ongoing campaigns of harassment.

A recently launched network, Crash Override is aimed at helping such victims.

The network, which its founders describe as an “online anti-harassment task force”, is devoted to helping victims of doxing/swatting in the ongoing Gamergate battle.

One of the would-be swatting victims helped out by the proactive work of the network was Israel Galvez, a web developer and Gamergate critic who was the target of a swatting attempt that came out of a forum linked to Gamergate.

Crash Override, which monitors known troll forums, in January gave police a heads-up about Galvez’s likelihood of being targeted.

When police subsequently received a bogus message about a “cylinder thing with duct tape wrapped around it” that was supposedly to be found within their target’s house, police knew to dial down their reaction.

In other words, they knocked with their fists, not with their boots, averting a potentially dangerous incident.

Gamers, if you’re live streaming, please be careful.

As Peters’s horrific experience shows, these vicious attacks can come out of nowhere, sparked by absolutely nothing, rising up to silently blindside both you and the innocents around you.


One would think, with the amount of “internal surveillance” conducted on a given population, that these incidents should not arise. At least, they should be extremely infrequent.

This is not just a matter of self security. This is an action response/training issue with law enforcement in general. I cannot speak intelligently about the happenstances in other countries, but in the United States, the “fear” of terrorism has escalated significantly each year following the 9/11 attacks.

There is absolutely no reason for a police force to perform such an action, without first consulting a federal agency for validation. If the account can be validated, fine, the extreme actions are warranted. If there is no validation, these “anonymous tips” should be handled as a routine stop. Verify the validity and THEN act upon it.

Simply, you can take any person, with none to minimal online presence, and obtain enough PII to “swat” them. Being in the public eye or having a more involved online presence merely makes it more convenient to obtain said information.

Even if this was an example of a legitimate call, rushing a S.W.A.T. team into a situation like this… it boggles my mind. If the alleged perpetrator was intent on an act of terrorism, rushing in at the beck and call of an anonymous tip could have been disastrous. Even with PROPER intel, these (true threat) situations do not generally end cleanly.

The whole concept of getting “tipped off” and sending a squad in to “diffuse” the situation, without proper investigation and planning… it is an accident waiting to happen (and has happened in some situations).

I don’t want to downplay the need to maintain vigilance about one’s online information/presence, but this issue is greater than an single individual part. We should do what we can, to remain safe and secure. At the same time, our governmental agencies need to dial it back and stop being so quick to act without adequate information.


Thing is (I don’t live in the USA, so I am guessing a bit here, admittedly), it seems that in many cases, the information given to law enforcement that causes a SWAT isn’t just a run of the mill “crime in progress” calls, or the sort of 911 call where you report a car crash you’ve witnessed to make sure emergency services arrive.

It’s more like someone calls 911 and as good as reports an axe murderer on the loose…in other words, the extent of the lies and the fabrication is such that the real blame lies with the perpetrator of the fake call. Perhaps they’re the ones you should be focusing on changing (which might, unfortunately, mean some stiffer penalties)?

If the call were, say, for a giant bush fire, then you might expect the emergency services to corroborate the scale of the incident before calling in the water-bombing aircraft. But in the case of what we might call “extreme crimes behind closed doors,” how else to investigate and test the truth?


Much, much, much stiffer penalties are needed, but even then there will be individuals residing in other countries or masking their identity/location too well for the run-of-the-mill police department to be able to locate them.

Sadly, this is a tremendous waste of resources too. It’s only a matter of time before a SWAT team that is needed somewhere is wasting its time/energy on a fake call, assuming it hasn’t already happened.


“[I]n the case of what we might call “extreme crimes behind closed doors,” how else to investigate and test the truth?”

It is the arena that matters most. In the case of a violent crime in progress (EG: A bank robbery or hostage situation), there is normally enough self-evident information to act accordingly.

The higher up Govt agencies don’t just go busting down doors into “behind closed doors” crimes on a tip. They set up surveillance. They insert operatives (if applicable). They check for previously documented occurrences. There is a whole process in place, which has (had) been followed for half a century or more.

The United States is no stranger to what happens when various agencies attempt a full on assault. Look back at the mobster era, fast forward to the Waco incident, and to today with the “swatting” incidents which have become more commonplace.

When one receives a “tip” about criminal activity in progress, where is the line drawn between sending a unit and sending a S.W.A.T. team? I honestly do not know, as I am not in the business of law enforcement.

If a regular unit is dispatched, based on a “tip”, they may find no evidence of wrongdoing. They may find it to have been a “prank” (noted as such.. because the seriousness of this really does not classify it as a prank) call. They may find it suspicious enough to warrant further investigation. In the absolute worst case, they would be met with violence.

The last two situations rely heavily on training. In the event that such a situation truly existed, the odds are in favor of the alleged perpetrator slipping up. That is to say, they may relax, as they feel they’ve evaded law enforcement, or they may be spurred to move forward, escalating their timetable. Both of these lead to being sloppy.

This is not to blame the law enforcers, nor the victim. As you noted, the true blame resides with the person or persons responsible for the false information. Unfortunately, it is difficult to pin down these people. Twenty or thirty years ago, things were much simpler. The world was “smaller.”

Harsher penalties are fine. That is to say, it -may- be a form of deterrence. The issue there only has an effect on those bound within applicable legal jurisdictions. If the penalty is too harsh, you run into non-extradition issues. (You have some of those anyway, regardless of punitive actions.)

As the landscape of the battleground changes, we too need to change. The policies which enabled such extreme police action may have been sound at the time. In regards to Cyber Security, we see this on a daily basis. What was valid yesterday, may not be today, or even within a few hours.

Law enforcement cannot be stagnant. They cannot foresee every possible change in criminal behavior. Sadly, aside from reaching into everyone’s personal lives, the only way to remain effective is to be reactive and adaptive. While they _could_ take similar steps to the Five Eyes, would it be worth the loss of personal freedom?

Pointing at the perpetrators and saying “Don’t do that!”, will not stop them. It never has. It never will. This is true for any potential crime/criminal. We must focus on what we can change… and that is us. If this is being used as a tool for terrorism (would you classify it any other way?), then how we respond to it would be the most effective change to combat this as a threat.

Second to that, is our own personal security measures. It is much easier/more effective to adjust an organizational response, than hundreds of millions (or billions) of individuals. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try the latter. It is merely to focus efforts on the most effective/efficient means of an adaptive response. In fifty years, I may be gone, but (hopefully) the infrastructure of our governments will still be standing. The changes made therein will continue to ripple on through time, whereas I (an individual) will come and go. Changes, not directly applicable to a singular instance… but as relating to how we view things as a whole.

I believe I’ve run all over, digressing from the initial response, but simply, “[…]how else to investigate and test the truth?” is not a valid response. It eludes to there being no other way, where, in fact, it should be the lead in question for bringing about a change in the way things are done.


Well put Paul! The thing some people are forgetting is that when some fool is pointing a gun at your family time is of the essence.


I was envisaging a situation where there really was an axe-wielding hostage taker (or similar) in your house and someone had managed to sneak off to the bathroom and make a mobile call for help, but been found and rounded up to join the rest of you face down on the lounge room floor…

…whereupon the phone rings, the axe-wielder grabs it and you hear a voice asking, “Hello Sir, do you really want us to SWAT the house, or was someone playing a horribly illegal prank?”

Imagine being the cop who had to make *that* call and decide from the reply to reassure him that there was “no need to attend” came from an genuinely apologetic time-waster or a sociopathic crook with the gift of the gab.


Since I don’t mess with those gamer sites I have to ask the looming question – how are people getting their addresses? Unless you have an address and a name you can’t call the cops to send them anywhere…so it would seem the easy solution is to never give out your personal information, don’t reveal your location and operate completely anonymously.

The only way to get around that is to somehow gain their info through those sites in which those sites need to increase their security to prevent it.


Cyber Guy is correct in his assessment that the main fault lies with the overreaction of law enforcement. Paul Ducklin mentioned corroboration in his brush fire example. If the call is regarding “behind closed doors”, a simple telephone call can be made, a patrol car drive-by can be conducted, or other surveil-type information can be collected before ringing the alarm bells and rousting the jack-booted thugs.

Pittsburgh is experimenting with neighborhood sensors that can triangulate the location of gun shots heard. This technology could be used and reviewed when swatting calls of gunshots are reported.

In short, I believe the root issue is that swatters are exploiting the hair-trigger mentality of our police forces, which they have for no other reason than to terrify the majority of the populace.


I believe that SWATTING should be considered a federal level crime. Maybe even on the level of domestic terrorism. I know of a case where a 14-year old boy was tried on convicted of this.

It should also have state-level laws for assault with the intent to kill, all the way up to murder if anyone dies in the SWATTING incident. There was a police officer killed recently in an incident as well.

With the new laws, an advertising campaign should follow informing the public of the new laws.

Also thinking about it, the Emergency call information should also be changed to require VOIP providers to provide the originating address of the phone call. This would allow it to be cross referenced with local internet providers to verify the authenticity of the call. In addition any calls to emergency services should be logged, and easily accessible to the police to verify the source of the call as well.

Who knows, maybe I’m crazy, but its just a thought.


I went through and tried to verify the court case, but it wasn’t true. I mixed up a satire article I read with something else. I apologise for that. The rest I still stand by.


“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

This used to mean something, I don’t think an anonymous call is an “oath or affirmation”.


This is not about search and seizure, any more than a rescue team that chops the roof off your car to get you out after an accident is “searching” your vehicle. (And note the word “unreasonable” in there.)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to get the latest updates in your inbox.
Which categories are you interested in?
You’re now subscribed!