Barclays Bank has reportedly beefed up e-mail security after a prankster impersonating the bank's chairman John McFarlane duped embattled CEO Jes Staley into a cringe-worthy exchange of views which showered praise on the top boss for his continued support.
The hoax e-mail, which was sent to Staley from a disaffected customer using a firstname.lastname@example.org account, offered support for the CEO as he faced questioning over attempts to track down a whistleblower within the bank.
“You are a unique man, Mr McFarlane. You came to my defense today with a courage not seen in many people. How do I thank you?" Staley wrote in response. “You have a sense of what is right, and you have a sense of theatre. You mix humor with grit. Thank you John. Never underestimate my recognition of your support. And my respect for your guile.”
The widely-publicised exchange has led Barclays to step up security, according to the Financial Times, by activating a warning message whenever an employee sends a message to an external email address on a mobile device, which previously only happened on desktop computers.
The unidentified prankster told the FT that he counted on the fact that most e-mail software does not show the full address unless a user clicks on the sender’s name. He added that he usually wrote “sent from iPhone” at the bottom of a hoax message to avoid needing to mimic the legal disclosures that accompany most corporate e-mails.