Want Your Data Back? Pay $200

Hackers have found a new way to terrorize computer users - by finding your documents and putting a lock on them, refusing to remove it unless you pay $200.

The new ploy was discovered by WebSense, a San Diego based security firm. To get in, the hacker tricks a user into visiting a Web site that downloads a Trojan horse onto a victims machine. If executed, the Trojan searches for all text files on a user's computer and replaces the text with gibberish.

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It will also create a textfile called "Attention!!" which contains instructions on how to unlock a file. "Decoder costs USD 200. Send USD 200 to e-gold account send message about it and I send programm to your e-mail," the file reads.

Security firms were quickly updating their antivirus software to prevent the scam from spreading further, which is being dubbed "ransom-ware." Several news organizations attempted to contact the trojan's author at the e-mail address provided in the textfile, however no answer was received as of Tuesday.

While the threat is new, antivirus firms said that the scam is not spreading, possibly due to more vigilant -- and more skeptical -- Internet users watching what they are downloading.

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