Nov 13 – 15, 2018
America/Vancouver timezone

WireGuard: Next-Generation Secure Kernel Network Tunnel

Nov 15, 2018, 9:45 AM
Pavillion/Ballroom-AB (Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center)


Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center

Refereed talk LPC Main Track


Jason Donenfeld


WireGuard [1] [2] is a new network tunneling mechanism written for
Linux, which, after three years of development, is nearly ready for
upstream. It uses a formally proven cryptographic protocol, custom
tailored for the Linux kernel, and has already seen very widespread
deployment, in everything from smart phones to massive data center
clusters. WireGuard uses a novel timer mechanism to hide state from
userspace, and in general presents userspace with a "stateless" and
"declarative" system of establishing secure tunnels. The codebase is
also remarkably small and has been written with a number of defense in
depth techniques. Integration into the larger Linux ecosystem is
advancing at a health rate, with recent patches for systemd and
NetworkManager merged. There is also ongoing work into combining
WireGuard with automatic configuration and mesh routing daemons on
Linux. This talk will focus on a wide variety of WireGuard’s innards
and tentacles onto other projects. The presentation will walk through
WireGuard's integration into the netdev subsystem, its unique use of
network namespaces, why kernel space is necessary is necessary, the
various hurdles that have gone into designing a cryptographic protocol
specifically with kernel constraints in mind. It will also examine a
practical approach to formal verification, suitable for kernel
engineers and not just academics, and connect the ideas of that with
our extensive continuous integration testing framework across multiple
kernel architectures and versions. As if that was not already enough,
we will also take a close look at the interesting performance aspects
of doing high throughput CPU-bound computations in kernel space while
still keeping latency to a minimum. On the topic of smartphones, the
talk will examine power efficiency techniques of both the
implementation and of the protocol design, our experience in
integrating this into Android kernels, and the relationship between
cryptographic secrets and smartphones suspend cycles. Finally we will
look carefully at the WireGuard userspace API and its usage in various
daemons and managers. In short, this presentation will examine the
networking and cryptography design, the kernel engineering, and the
userspace integration considerations of WireGuard.


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Primary author

Jason Donenfeld

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