I frequently browse on my laptop through an AndroidAP network. The Windows firewall considers it as untrusted, as it does with every Wifi network by default.

Is this network accessible from the Internet ("accessible" as "accepting random incoming connections"), or does it already have a firewall so I can set it as a trusted network in Windows ?

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    Make sure you've secured it with WPA2 and then sure, you can set it as trusted – Awn Oct 27 '16 at 5:56
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    @Eclipse Thank you, this should be an answer ! Also, It's maybe the 5th time I write that, but could the downvoter please leave a comment to explain why he thinks my question shouldn't be here ? – Elzo Oct 28 '16 at 10:20

This is a WiFi Access Point, not different from the one you may have at home, at an airport or at a café. It just bridges the GSM data capacities of the phone with its WiFi - allowing you to go from one to another.

This means that it is, from the perspective of your laptop, untrusted - like any other network before you make it trusted (because you own it (your case), know that it is correct, is a company WiFi, etc.).

It is yet another access point to Internet for your device, so you must decide how much trust you put in in (in your case, probably a lot).

From the technical perspective, you should protect this access point so that only entrusted users can access it. This means using WPA2 with a strong passwphrase and an up-to-date Android.

  • My question was about whether the machines connected to that AP are isolated from the Internet by a firewall, which is the case in most APs but not strictly equivalent as far as I know. Based on this "you must decide how much trust you put in in (in your case, probably a lot", I assume that it is in fact firewalled ? – Elzo Oct 28 '16 at 10:22
  • @YdobEmos: yes, the WiFi AP is behind your laptop firewall (which can be enabled / configured or not) – WoJ Oct 28 '16 at 12:19

From Windows point of view, the difference is whether you intend to share anything at the windows network level with other computers. Typically, you could share disks and printers, discover computer and resources or allow your own computer and its resources to be discovered.

If you only use the laptop and a phone as router, it is unlikely that you could use a shared printer or shared disk on a local network, or share your own resources, so you should declare the network as public (or untrusted with your terminology)

The only use case for declaring it as trusted (home or work) would be if there were different laptops (your own, your wife's one, and your child's one) all connected to your phone. In that case, if you wanted to be able to easily share disk resources, you could choose home network. But this could be a security risk if the wifi access is not protected with a secure protocol (WPA2 and not WEP) and a non trivial password (not the default 12345678)

TL/DR: except in very special use cases, you should always declare you phone network as public (untrusted)

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