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Working safely from home - part 1: a properly secured network

Some organisations have allowed employees to work from home for one or more days per week for years. Others are suddenly faced with quarantine measures. Whatever the situation, working from home should not create a greater risk of falling victim to a cyber attack. With clear rules, the right equipment and sufficient preventive measures, online working at home can be as safe as working at the office.

A properly secured network

A properly secured network is the basis of good protection. If a cybercriminal has access to your network, they also have network access to all the devices connected to it, and of course, you don't want that. How do you make your network as secure as possible?

Install a VPN

  • Install a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This is your personal, secure tunnel through the WiFi network. Many employers provide a reliable VPN connection for their employees so they can securely access the professional network. If you don’t have such a connection, you can install VPN services online for free or for a fee. For example, various virus scanners offer VPNs.

The router is the port between the internet and your home network: secure it properly*

  • Change your network name (SSID) and do not include obvious elements such as your address. Otherwise, a cybercriminal standing outside your house can then see which network belongs to which house.
  • Change your network passwords, including the one on your router.
  • Use WPA2 security. Your router probably has the ability to set WPA2, WPA or WEP encryption. Choose WPA2 and immediately set a strong and long password if you have not already done so.
  • Update all equipment. Your router is also a computer and gets updates just like your computer. Make sure the latest updates are installed on your router and other network equipment.

* How can you change the settings of your router?

And don’t forget about...

  • Activate the firewall and always use a virus scanner.
  • Disable WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). WPS is a feature that allows devices to connect to a Wi-Fi network in a simpler way without having to enter a password. Criminals can abuse this to connect to your network.
  • Create a guest network. A guest network is a separate Wi-Fi network that is strictly separated from your own network. Your guests will be able to use the Internet, but not your shared files and devices such as printers and network hard drives. So you can also share the password for your guest network with peace of mind. Many routers provide this feature via settings.
  • Use the 'fixed internet cable' or Ethernet. Use an Ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi for devices you don't move, such as desktop computers, TVs or printers. A wireless network, even when it is secure, can be hacked by anyone within range. Wi-Fi transmits and receives radio signals across a wide range, which is a potential safety risk. Data passing through a cable is much more difficult for hackers to intercept because it requires physical access.


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