Here’s an example of the real world invading the virtual world: a Trojan horse that holds your files hostage unless you pay up.
Ransom-A, as it has been termed by antivirus expert Sophos, hides in your computer until a predetermined virtual signal fire is light, at which time the Trojan horse displays explicit images on your screen and uses expletive-laced message to demand a payment of US$10.99. If you don’t pay up, the Trojan horse threatens to delete one file off your machine every 30 minutes until you do pay.
To pay, you send money via Western Union to a special account stipulated by the Trojan horse, which also promises to provide you with a disabling code.
Security officials worry that this is part of a trend. A similar piece of “ransomware” made headlines in March, and another made the virtual rounds last year.