If you are using a VPN, chances are it will work with OpenVPN or IPsec, which have been the standard for a long time. With WireGuard, however, they are in a race for money, and it’s easy to see why. It is purely encrypted, connects in no time, uses proven modern cryptography and works with almost everything. WireGuard was even included in the Linux 5.6 kernel. said the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds : Compared to the horrors of OpenVPN and IPSec, this is a work of art.
That’s what it looks like: What is VPN, and why do I need it?
What is WireGuard and what is the difference?
Like OpenVPN and IPsec, WireGuard is a VPN system. This means that it establishes an encrypted connection between the client computer (your computer) and a server located elsewhere. You send requests to the server, and the server forwards them to the site you are trying to access. The site then sends the information back to the middle server, and the server sends it to you. It’s good for privacy and security if you can trust your VPN provider and the technology they use.
One of the reasons WireGuard is so popular is that it allows you to increase confidence in the technological side of things. It is open source and contains nearly 4000 lines of code, which is about 1% of the size of competing technologies (OpenVPN/IPsec). This means that a competent person can circumvent this situation relatively quickly. This reflects the philosophy of safety through the simplicity of WireGuard. With a smaller attack surface area, missed vulnerabilities are more difficult to find and easier to fix when they occur.
The database is so small that WireGuard uses a specialized (but cryptographically accurate) set of some of the most advanced cryptographic tools (ChaCha20, Curve25519, Poly1305, BLAKE2s, SipHash24, etc.). They make connections and encrypt them instead of implementing entire protocols. The system has been thoroughly tested and found to be audible.
What’s more, it gets its security thanks to the versioning. If a problem with one of the protocols is detected, WireGuard can easily be corrected and updated. It is actually faster and potentially more secure than the more complex cryptographic maneuvering process used by older VPNs to further falsify protocols, by the way.
For most users, however, the most noticeable changes WireGuard makes are the speed and stability of the connection. The reason for this is that the WireGuard encryption system is based on key exchange (very similar to SSH). This system is much faster than the certificate based system that dominates most VPNs. Moreover, it uses fewer resources than its competitors, which makes it much easier to work with the machines it operates.
Is there a problem with WireGuard?
Like any other system WireGuard is not 100% perfect. The development team is still in the process of developing certain features and improving compatibility with different systems. But it’s perfectly usable and safe as it is.
However, one of the most common complaints about WireGuard is that it is designed for security, not privacy. It provides a communication protocol and contains a number of privacy safeguards, but leaves a lot of space for the people working on the servers. A lot of this has to do with the way it stores IP addresses. Each VPN protocol must know where to send the data. Due to the WireGuard connection method it usually takes longer to forget the connected IP than something like OpenVPN.
This is a problem where most WireGuard VPN providers ensure that addresses are regularly deleted and not stored. It’s fully repairable. Note that no VPN technology is secure if the ISP wants to connect. A VPN you want to spy on can do so with WireGuard or OpenVPN, so you will need to find someone you cannot reasonably trust.
How do I use WireGuard?
WireGuard is rapidly gaining popularity with many VPN subscription services. If you want to start using the system, all you have to do is quickly find the suppliers who implemented the system. NordVPN, Private Internet Access, ExpressVPN and TorGuard are all reliable services that allow you to use WireGuard.
If you are more of the type to do business in a VPN, WireGuard is open source and supports different platforms. You can use anything from a virtual private server to Raspberry Pi to manage your own WireGuard VPN implementation. I managed to get the WireGuard encrypted connection between my Windows 10 machine and the Ubuntu 20.04 VPS working pretty fast. However, the actual transfer of data did require some troubleshooting.
WireGuard is the future?
If something goes wrong, WireGuard is likely to be the default option for many VPN connections, especially considering its privileged place in the Linux kernel. However, OpenVPN and IPsec are very common technologies and will not disappear any time soon. WireGuard is still a very recent technology. Although it is likely to have an advantage in many respects, competitors are already integrated into many systems and retain some comparative advantages. However, WireGuard is the next generation VPN software. Unless you have a good reason not to use them, you could use them.
If you are looking for a VPN service, find out how to select a VPN provider.
Credits for the photos : Orange-blue public-key cryptography, public-key encryption, WireGuard : Next generation Core Network Tunnel, presentation of WireGuard
That’s what it looks like:
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