Large UK software group Sage has experienced a data breach that could have compromised personal details and bank account information for employees of almost 300 UK companies.
Sage, provider of payroll, accounting and payments software for businesses in 23 countries, experienced a fall in share price up to 3.9 per cent in the first hour of trading on Monday after publicising the breach.
The shares fell to 711p per share, after the company reported to the BBC on Saturday that it was "investigating unauthorised access to customer information using an internal login.
“We cannot comment further whilst we work with the authorities to investigate but our customers remain our first priority and we are speaking directly with those affected.”
The company is said to have reported the breach to the City of London police at the weekend, and it confirmed its investigation into the issue today. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has also been informed.
The breach was apparently performed in the last few weeks. It is uncertain whether information was stolen from Sage, or just viewed.
The Newcastle-based company has informed the businesses potentially affected, advising them to be alert for any strange activity.
Analysts at Citi said to the Financial Times today that the breach would hit “sentiment rather than financials”, as less than 1 per cent of Sage’s customer base in the UK and Ireland had probably been affected.
“From a financial standpoint, we believe Sage’s broad-based geographic presence and sticky business model should help mitigate some of the downside risk posed by likely loss of reputation in the UK and Ireland,” the analysts said.
Founded in 1981, Sage has more than 13,000 employees around the world and has an annual turnover of £1.3bn. It is also the only remaining technology stock on the FTSE100.