While it isn't exactly new, security experts issued a warning over the rise of "ransomware" - a type of computer malware that hijacks your computer and and won't let you use it unless you cough up the dough:
Turning hijacked computers into cash is still hard work for most computer criminals. They've got to trick the infected PC into sending spam, then trick a recipient into buying a useless product -- or they have to steal online banking passwords, log onto a victim’s account, bypass the bank’s money transfer fraud controls, and so on.
It's much easier to just demand cash directly from infected users -- a crime that's the Internet's equivalent of kidnapping.
"Give me all your money or your computer gets it-" is the basic proposition. [...]
Luis Corrons Granel, a researcher at Panda Security, said use of ransomware by criminals is exploding -- 25 percent of all rogueware in the past quarter involved a family of intimidating products named "TotalAntivirus.” It demands that users pay $50 for two years, $79 for a lifetime license. [...]
To an average user, most rogueware would be indistinguishable from other standard antivirus products. They look like fully functional software, showing Windows-like screens for firewall settings, file scanning, and every other tab you'd expect from standard antivirus products. “Total Security” even lets users choose their language -- English, Spanish, and German are offered.