A new Trojan that does just this has been dubbed Ransom-A by antivirus company Sophos. This carries a nasty message that demands a $10.99 payment, or it will delete one file every 30 minutes. Payment is demanded via the Western Union money transfer service. The Trojan claims that paying up will release a disarming code that can be used to neutralise the threat, but as to whether this code actually works, or if you even get it, remains a mystery.
"This Trojan horse is designed to take your data hostage and tries to scare users into paying up quickly by threatening to wipe files one-by-one," Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said in the statement.