(This is another post that only a techie could love…) A WireGuard VPN provides a fast, secure tunnel between endpoints. It uses public/private key pairs to encrypt the data.
If you have several clients, you have to enter their public keys into your server. Keeping track of those keys gets to be a hassle, since ordinarily, the keys are essentially random numbers.
I found a great project to help this problem: WireGuard Vanity Address. It continually generates WireGuard private/public key pairs, printing keys that contain a desired string in the first 10 characters. For example, I generated this public key for my MacBook Pro (MBP): MBP/DzPRZ05vNZ0XS3P9tlokZPrLy/1lb1Zsm3du4QA= Note the MBP/ at the start – it makes it easy to know that this is my Mac’s key.
To do it, I ran the wireguard-vanity-address program. Here is sample output:
$ ./wireguard-vanity-address MBP/
searching for 'mbp/' in pubkey[0..10], one of every 299593 keys should match
one trial takes 28.7 us, CPU cores available: 2
est yield: 4.3 seconds per key, 232.30e-3 keys/s
hit Ctrl-C to stop
private qMKPNrCMId59XTn5vgDICUh/QzIfhqZdrZ+XQBIJj2w= public zmbP/YEpC8Zl6MacYhcY1lq126tL2UudFjmrwbl2/18=
private HHtPY8IwGBxQ5OTtJY6GcuFpImXtDp9d187zvI0axFo= public qhIiSMbp/extT5irPy4EJfLRPR9jTzQZHlM15Fo/P2E=
private BEnEu1lVdcRI997nj2uPNGsyCZNPhBTCNfgJuYPPJHA= public hZzmBP/8EthWPOFp5wroEGPeJTHGxZ5KENnMiZvniGY=
private 8HRj+YZfSBnYZn38MPE09W2g03JvRJoGbjlDkHQ0Wnk= public mBP/q2dOd+m457PyKTIvI7MDTuXLCneG6MM0ir9rwRc=
private dFE8xsDDWNNNY1OjOIlxQiNVbp7Z6tZhXsaOo/5gPH0= public MBP/DzPRZ05vNZ0XS3P9tlokZPrLy/1lb1Zsm3du4QA=
# This last line contains a public key starting with "MBP/"
It works great. But its documentation is minimal. Even though the required keywords (which you must type manually) are the same as other clients, the GUI doesn’t give a hint about whether it’s right until you type it exactly correctly. Consequently, it can be a pain to configure it properly.
This screen shot shows a correctly configured (although fictitious) VPN tunnel. To get to this configuration window, use the Wireguard Manage Tunnels menu, click and choose Add Empty Tunnel… then fill in the resulting window as shown below:
Although there are plenty of guides to explain WireGuard, this summarizes my best understanding of the meaning of these fields. There may be additional ways to configure the VPN, but following this advice will result in a working secure configuration.
PrivateKey: Private key for this computer. WireGuard uses this key to encrypt data sent to its peer, and decrypt received data. WireGuard displays the corresponding PublicKey (which you’ll enter into the peer) at the top of the window.
Address: Address for the VPN tunnel interface on this computer. Use a /32 address chosen from an address range that not is in either this network or the peer’s network. (This example uses 10.0.10.2/32 for this end. The peer (not shown) is 10.0.10.1/32. They were chosen because the 10.0.10.0/24 subnet is not in use on either side of the tunnel.)
DNS:(Optional) Address(es) of DNS servers to be used by this computer. It’s OK to leave this out – by default, WireGuard will use the underlying OS DNS servers.
ListenPort:(Optional) WireGuard listens on this port for traffic from its peer. It’s OK to leave this out – by default, WireGuard will select an unused port.
PublicKey: The public key of the remote peer. WireGuard uses this key to decrypt the packets sent from the peer, and encrypt packets sent to the peer.
PresharedKey:(Optional) This key will be used to encrypt the session. If specified, it is used in lieu of the public/private key pair for the peers.
AllowedIPs: A comma-separated list of IP (v4 or v6) addresses with CIDR masks which are allowed as destination addresses when sending via this peer and as source addresses when receiving via this peer.
Endpoint:(Optional) The address (or DNS name) and port of the remote peer. If specified, this peer will attempt to connect to the endpoint periodically.
PersistentKeepalive:(Optional) The number of seconds this peer waits before sending another keep-alive message. These messages “keep the session alive” through NAT.
I would appreciate comments on these descriptions so I can make them more helpful/useful.
The following thoughts are refinements to the advice shown above.
The example above only allows traffic to/from the 192.168.4.0/24 and 172.30.42.0/24 subnets to travel through the tunnel. To send all traffic through the tunnel (say, to avoid prying eyes of your ISP, etc), you can set the AllowedIPs to 0.0.0.0/0. To send all IPv6 traffic through the tunnel, add ::/0
It neither necessary nor recommended to include the peer’s Address in the AllowedIPs list.
Although both Endpoint and PersistentKeepalive are listed as optional, you normally set both when using the macOS WireGuard client. Activating the tunnel (from the WireGuard menu), causes WireGuard to begin sending Keepalive packets to the Endpoint, which starts up the tunnel.
Dealing with NAT. If your ISP requires your remote peer to be behind NAT, you must configure your ISP’s router/modem to pass the WireGuard packets through. The setup varies from ISP to ISP, but in general, you’ll need to set up some kind of “virtual server”, “DMZ”, or “port forwarding” in the ISP router/modem to pass the WireGuard packets (on the port specified in the Endpoint) to the peer device.