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 (opens in new tab), president and security researcher at Edge Security, Jason Donenfeld explained that future Linux kernels will have WireGuard built-in by default, saying:
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“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.
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