Nearly two decades ago the VPN industry saw an upgrade in tunneling protocols. The upgrade came in the form of OpenVPN, an open-source protocol that has dominated the market to this day. I think some significant progress has been made with the development of WireGuard and a breakthrough in online security.
WireGuard is a type of VPN that aims to be simpler than current VPNs while providing a higher level of security. It is a tool that is free and open source with the GPLv2 license – similar to the Linux kernel. Some experts are already endorsing WireGuard as the protocol that will set OpenVPN apart as the market leader while others are much more skeptical. However, everything about this technology so far has shown great promise.
Do we really need another VPN protocol?
Good question. Does the world really need more VPN protocols? I mean we already have IPSEC, PPTP, OpenVPN and a surprising number of proprietary SSL VPNs. More importantly, is it necessary to start a VPN? To answer the second question first, VPNs are actually extremely useful tools. They provided an extra layer of security to protect your data from external threats.
For example, if you are running a business and have a website, buying SSL certification for your site with Godaddy SSL Coupons can give you a certain level of encryption. It will also help to increase traffic and boost SEO. But your website will be exposed to online threats.
Using an SSL VPN will give your employees the opportunity to access restricted resources remotely. This will completely prevent unauthorized parties from listening in on your network communications. Just like OpenVPN, L2TP and IPSEC have their strengths.
What is the difference between online security?
There are a number of factors that make WireGuard exceptional. I will discuss some of them in detail.
high level of encryption
WireGuard uses a process called “cryptokey routing” to secure user data. This is where the device associates the public key with the authorized IP address that is allowed inside the VPN tunnel.
When it comes to encryption standards and algorithm, WireGuard takes an entirely new approach. Encryption algorithm that no other protocol also supports:
It’s important to mention here that WireGuard’s key length encryption is limited to 256 bits. While this may worry some people, in all honesty, 256-bit is already more than enough. Taking into account that a 256 bit encryption length means 1.15 x 1077 key combinations, the odds are stacked against anyone looking to break.
Trust me when I tell you this, WireGuard’s simplicity is phenomenal. To start with, this protocol is much simpler than OpenVPN because it takes ridiculously low lines of code. While OpenVPN takes 600,000 lines of code, WireGuard only takes less than 4000. Yes, phenomenal is a good word to describe the difference.
With much shorter code, the chances of things going wrong and bugs affecting functionality are greatly reduced. Lean code also reduces the attack surface and the code’s exposure to external threats. In the end, it is much easier and less time consuming for a person to audit a code with fewer lines than when a code is filled with more than hundreds of thousands of lines.
It’s clear that developer Jason Donenfeld believes that security through simplicity is the way to go.
So far, asymmetric encryption has been implementing a principle called cryptographic agility. Agile crypto allows you to change the cipher, Diffie-Hellman and Digest to bring upgrades.
On paper, it seems like an overwhelming idea. This will give you more options and change things for the better.
Unfortunately, those options mean that a lot of things need to be negotiated between the server and the client before the final connection can be made. And it leaves the door open for anyone in the event of a MITM attack because they have more stuff to spy on.
WireGuard eliminates cryptographic agility for a better alternative, the crypto version. Suppose, if a cryptographic attack is detected against one of the protocols, a new version of WireGuard can be created.
After the update, the client and server will have to proceed except v1.0 for v.2.0 only. In contrast, crypto agile negotiation would require the client and server to negotiate and agree on each primitive and critical length.
Some issues that need to be addressed
WireGuard is free open source which is still a work in progress. No final version of the protocol has yet been released and has not gone through proper security audits. On the surface, WireGuard looks extremely promising but the jury is out until we see the final look of it.