UK shipping giant Clarksons confirmed that it was hit by hackers, who appear to have been successful in stealing sensitive and confidential corporate data. The firm said that it suspects that the hackers may soon leak the stolen data, likely in retaliation to the company refusing to meet the cybercriminals' ransom demand.

Clarksons said that the hackers had managed to access the company's computer systems by compromising a "single and isolated user account," which has since been disabled. The shipping giant said that it is in the process of notifying potentially affected clients and is working with law enforcement authorities to resolve the issue.

"Today, the person or persons behind the incident may release some data," the firm said in a statement. "The data at issue is confidential and lawyers are on standby wherever needed to take all necessary steps to preserve the confidentiality in the information."

"As you would rightly expect, we're working closely with specialist police teams and data security experts to do all we can to best understand the incident and what we can do to protect our clients now and in the future," Clarksons CEO Andi Case said in a statement.

"We hope that, in time, we can share the lessons learned with our clients to help stop them from becoming victims themselves," Case added. "In the meantime, I hope our clients understand that we would not be held to ransom by criminals, and I would like to sincerely apologise for any concern this incident may have understandably raised."

Clarksons is the latest among numerous companies to suffer a data breach this year. Uber, Equifax, Yahoo and Deloitte are among the few that were also targeted by hackers.

It still remains unclear as to when Clarksons was hacked and when the firm discovered the breach. The amount of ransom demanded by the hackers, as well as the cybercriminals' identity also remains unknown.