US regulators have been visiting HSBC holdings to look into the use of Whatsapp for employee communication. Whatsapp is an instant messaging app in which all messages are end-to-end encrypted, which means only people in the chat have access to the messages. These messages cannot be traced, therefore can escape investigations, unlike sending texts and emails which can be saved and traced by specialists, even if they have been deleted by users.
The investigation is to see whether or not the staff members have been sending sensitive work messages via Whatsapp. CEO of HSBC Noel Quinn stated that financial bodies such as the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) and the Securities and Exchange commission have been directing a general investigation into all finance banks and buildings. He said “They’re looking at the use of mobiles and Whatsapp and text messages to make sure it’s appropriate”. HSBC Chief financial Officer Ewen Stevenson said the banking group had “Internal procedures and requirements as to the use of non-bank platforms”.
HSBC is not the only company to be investigated, in 2021, JPMorgan Chase, a worldwide financial services firm, received a $200 million fine after failing to keep a record of employees personal information such as private apps and personal email accounts. It was brought to light that multiple members of staff have ignored the company rules and would be sending work related material over apps like Whatsapp instead, this presents a great cyber security risk. Using Whatsapp for employee communication is definitely a useful way for people to communicate, however sharing private and sensitive work information is going to risk the individual as well as their employers.
Do you need support with ensuring your communication platforms are being used in the right way? Get in touch with the Team here at Beagle HR.