WireGuard: Next Generation Kernel Network Tunnel
Download: Paper (PDF)
Date: 27 Feb 2017
Document Type: Reports
Associated Event: NDSS Symposium 2017
WireGuard is a secure network tunnel, operating at layer 3, implemented as a kernel virtual network interface for Linux, which aims to replace both IPsec for most use cases, as well as popular user space and/or TLS-based solutions like OpenVPN, while being more secure, more performant, and easier to use. The virtual tunnel interface is based on a proposed fundamental principle of secure tunnels: an association between a peer public key and a tunnel source IP address. It uses a single round trip key exchange, based on NoiseIK, and handles all session creation transparently to the user using a novel timer state machine mechanism. Short pre-shared static keys Curve25519 points are used for mutual authentication in the style of OpenSSH. The protocol provides strong perfect forward secrecy in addition to a high degree of identity hiding. Transport speed is accomplished using ChaCha20Poly1305 authenticated-encryption for encapsulation of packets in UDP. An improved take on IP-binding cookies is used for mitigating denial of service attacks, improving greatly on IKEv2 and DTLS s cookie mechanisms to add encryption and authentication. The overall design allows for allocating no resources in response to received packets, and from a systems perspective, there are multiple interesting Linux implementation techniques for queues and parallelism. Finally, WireGuard can be simply implemented for Linux in less than 4,000 lines of code, making it easily audited and verified.