Linux users now have another choice when it comes to protecting themselves online as WireGuard VPN has been added to the Linux kernel in version 5.6.
Up until now, the fast and flexible VPN, which was designed specifically for Linux implementations, was only available as a third-party addition. However, WireGuard VPN is now available by default with release of Linux 5.6.
In an announcement, president and security researcher at Edge Security, Jason Donenfeld explained that future Linux kernels will have WireGuard built-in by default, saying:
- These are the best Linux VPNs
- What is OpenVPN? A closer look at this popular VPN encryption protocol
- Also check out our roundup of the best Linux distros
“Earlier this evening, Linus released Linux 5.6, which contains our first release of WireGuard. This is quite exciting. It means that kernels from here on out will have WireGuard built-in by default. And for those of you who were scared away prior by the "dOnT uSe tHiS k0de!!1!" warnings everywhere, you now have something more stable to work with.”
WireGuard was originally developed as a replacement for more complex VPN protocols such as IPsec and OpenVPN as they can often be difficult to implement. It's also harder to audit or verify existing protocols because of their large codebases.
As WireGuard VPN consists of around just 4,000 lines of code, as opposed to the 100,000 lines of code that make up OpenVPN, it is much easier for security experts to review and audit it for vulnerabilities.
While WireGuard is now available in Linux 5.6, it will still take some time for the kernel to find its way into other popular Linux distros such as Ubuntu, Arch Linux and Linux Mint.
However, while users of these distros wait for the trickle down effect to occur, WireGuard's existing compatibility with older versions of some Linux distributions will be maintained.
- We've also highlighted the best VPN services
Are you a pro? Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up to the TechRadar Pro newsletter to get all the top news, opinion, features and guidance your business needs to succeed!
After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.