|Original author(s)||Jason A. Donenfeld|
|Developer(s)||Jason A. Donenfeld|
1.0.20220627 / 27 June 2022
|Written in||C (Linux, FreeBSD kernel modules, NetBSD, OpenBSD kernel drivers), Go (userspace implementation)|
|Type||Virtual private network|
|License||various free and open-source|
WireGuard is a communication protocol and free and open-source software that implements encrypted virtual private networks (VPNs), and was designed with the goals of ease of use, high speed performance, and low attack surface. It aims for better performance and more power than IPsec and OpenVPN, two common tunneling protocols. The WireGuard protocol passes traffic over UDP.
In March 2020, the Linux version of the software reached a stable production release and was incorporated into the Linux 5.6 kernel, and backported to earlier Linux kernels in some Linux distributions. The Linux kernel components are licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2; other implementations are under GPLv2 or other free/open-source licenses.
WireGuard uses the following:
- X25519 for key exchange
- ChaCha20 for symmetric encryption
- Poly1305 for message authentication codes
- SipHash for hashtable keys
- BLAKE2s for cryptographic hash function
- UDP-based only
WireGuard supports pre-shared symmetric key mode, which provides an additional layer of symmetric encryption to mitigate future advances in quantum computing. This addresses the risk that traffic may be stored until quantum computers are capable of breaking Curve25519, at which point traffic could be decrypted. Pre-shared keys are "usually troublesome from a key management perspective and might be more likely stolen", but in the shorter term, if the symmetric key is compromised, the Curve25519 keys still provide more than sufficient protection.
WireGuard is designed to be extended by third-party programmes and scripts. This has been used to augment WireGuard with various features including more user-friendly management interfaces (including easier setting up of keys), logging, dynamic firewall updates, and LDAP integration.
Excluding such complex features from the minimal core codebase improves its stability and security. For ensuring security, WireGuard restricts the options for implementing cryptographic controls, limits the choices for key exchange processes, and maps algorithms to a small subset of modern cryptographic primitives. If a flaw is found in any of the primitives, a new version can be released that resolves the issue. Also, configuration settings that affect the security of the overall application cannot be modified by unprivileged users.
Implementations of the WireGuard protocol include:
- Donenfeld's initial implementation, written in C and Go.
- Cloudflare's BoringTun, a user space implementation written in Rust.
- Matt Dunwoodie's implementation for OpenBSD, written in C.
- Ryota Ozaki's wg(4) implementation, for NetBSD, is written in C.
- The FreeBSD implementation is written in C and shares most of the data path with the OpenBSD implementation.
- Native Windows kernel implementation named "wireguard-nt", since August 2021.
- OPNsense via standard package os-WireGuard.
- pfSense via experimental add-on package on pfSense Plus 21.05, pfSense CE 2.5.2, and later versions.
- Mikrotik has an implementation on all modern routers
On 9 December 2019, David Miller – primary maintainer of the Linux networking stack – accepted the WireGuard patches into the "net-next" maintainer tree, for inclusion in an upcoming kernel.
On 29 March 2020 WireGuard was incorporated into the Linux 5.6 release tree. The Windows version of the software remains at beta.
On 22 June 2020, after the work of Matt Dunwoodie and Jason A. Donenfeld, WireGuard support was imported into OpenBSD.
In March 2021, kernel-mode WireGuard support was removed from FreeBSD 13.0, still in testing, after an urgent code cleanup in FreeBSD WireGuard could not be completed quickly. FreeBSD-based pfSense Community Edition (CE) 2.5.0 and pfSense Plus 21.02 removed kernel-based WireGuard as well.
In May 2021, WireGuard support was re-introduced back into pfSense CE and pfSense Plus development snapshots as an experimental package written by a member of the pfSense community, Christian McDonald. The WireGuard package for pfSense incorporates the ongoing kernel-mode WireGuard development work by Jason A. Donenfeld that was originally sponsored by Netgate.
In June 2021, the official package repositories for both pfSense CE 2.5.2 and pfSense Plus 21.05 included the WireGuard package.
- Comparison of virtual private network services
- Secure Shell (SSH), a cryptographic network protocol used to secure services over an unsecured network.
- Not all platforms may have a currently released version and some may be at beta.[needs update?]
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