Data from Morrisons’ staff payroll system has been stolen and published on the internet, the Yorkshire-based supermarket chain revealed today.
The data theft, which was spotted by bosses yesterday, includes employees’ names, addresses and bank account details.
It was sent on a disc to a newspaper and posted online, though Morrisons says it has since had the information taken off the website.
A statement released today said: “Initial investigations suggest that this theft was not the result of an external penetration of our systems.
“We can confirm there has been no loss of customer data and no colleague will be left financially disadvantaged.
“We have already informed our colleagues about the theft and we are helping them take the appropriate actions to safeguard their personal data.”
The news comes a day after the Bradford-based chain unveiled a radical price-slashing plan to protect its northern heartlands in a move which saw £650m wiped off its value.
It emerged that the Wm Morrison company saw its stores haemorrhage shoppers to Aldi and Lidl over Christmas when customers were lured away by the promise of cut-price lobster, free range turkey, quality champagne and award winning Christmas puddings.
In response to the theft of data, Morrisons said it was “working with the cyber crime authorities and the police to identify the source of the theft”.
It said chief executive Dalton Philips was leading the response and that the firm had “brought in experts to help colleagues and ensure they are not financially disadvantaged”.
A helpline has been set up and the company is “urgently reviewing” internal data security measures, the spokesman said.
A note sent to all Morrisons staff this morning said: “We are extremely sorry to inform you that there has been a theft of colleagues’ personal information, which was uploaded onto a website.
“As soon as we became aware of this last night we took immediate steps to ensure the data was removed from the website. It was closed down within hours of us being notified.
“The information included names, addresses and bank account details of colleagues. This affects colleagues from all levels of the organisation.
“Our immediate priority is the security of your financial information.
“We are currently working with Experian and the major banks to ensure that we provide full support and assistance to all affected colleagues. This will include support and advice around protection of your bank account.”
It added: “We are very sorry that this has happened.
“We will ensure that no colleague will be left financially disadvantaged as a result of this theft.”
Morrisons has several supermarkets in Calderdale, including stores in Elland, Illingworth and Todmorden.