A malicious new piece of malware targeted at Android smartphones has appeared in China.

Lookout, a mobile security blog, run by San Francisco-based Lookout Mobile Security, reported that the malware, codenamed Geinimi is able to compromise personal data on a user's phone and send it to remote servers. The most sophisticated Android malware we've seen to date, Geinimi is also the first Android malware in the wild that displays botnet-like capabilities, wrote tim on the blog.

The software, known as a Trojan, is currently uploaded through repackaged versions of Android apps distributed by third-party Android app market. Trojans are pieces of software that appear legitimate to the user, but often have harmful purposes. The code is designed to take control of the system to affect the chosen form of damage.

A botnet is an army of robots or systems that have been compromised without the knowledge of their owners. These computers are used to forward spams and viruses to other computers through the internet.

The Trojan can compromise users' privacy as it is primarily created to collate information related to location and unique identifying codes and then transfer it to live servers.

Lookout cited some applications which carry the Trojan. They includes apps such as Monkey Jump 2, Sex Positions, President vs. Aliens, City Defense and Baseball Superstars 2010, which are available in Chinese app stores.

Though right now Android phones outside of China are shielded, the fact that there is a Trojan for the ubiquitous OS is unnerving. And with iPhone still secure -- or at least not having been attacked yet -- Android cannot afford to let this go by.

This isn't the first malware for the Android. In August Kaspersky Lab reported that a virus named TrojaN-SMS.Android OS.FakePlayer-A had surfaced for the OS. The virus took the form of a media player and would fire SMSes to expensive phone numbers running the user's bill through the roof. The virus had only infected devices in Russia.

The development of these viruses speaks of a shift among virus developers as they move from desktops to smartphones as the number of the devices grows.