Get things from one computer to another, safely.
This package provides a library and a command-line tool named
which makes it possible to get arbitrary-sized files and directories
(or short pieces of text) from one computer to another. The two endpoints are
identified by using identical "wormhole codes": in general, the sending
machine generates and displays the code, which must then be typed into the
The codes are short and human-pronounceable, using a phonetically-distinct wordlist. The receiving side offers tab-completion on the codewords, so usually only a few characters must be typed. Wormhole codes are single-use and do not need to be memorized.
% wormhole send README.md Sending 7924 byte file named 'README.md' On the other computer, please run: wormhole receive Wormhole code is: 7-crossover-clockwork Sending (<-10.0.1.43:58988).. 100%|=========================| 7.92K/7.92K [00:00<00:00, 6.02MB/s] File sent.. waiting for confirmation Confirmation received. Transfer complete.
% wormhole receive Enter receive wormhole code: 7-crossover-clockwork Receiving file (7924 bytes) into: README.md ok? (y/n): y Receiving (->tcp:10.0.1.43:58986).. 100%|===========================| 7.92K/7.92K [00:00<00:00, 120KB/s] Received file written to README.md
$ pip install magic-wormhole
You either want to do this into a "user" environment (putting the
wormhole executable in
~/.local/bin/wormhole) like this:
pip install --user magic-wormhole
or put it into a virtualenv, to avoid modifying the system python's libraries, like this:
virtualenv venv source venv/bin/activate pip install magic-wormhole
You probably don't want to use
sudo when you run
On OS X, you may need to install
pip and run
$ xcode-select --install to
$ brew install magic-wormhole
On Debian 9 and Ubuntu 17.04+ with
$ sudo apt install magic-wormhole
On previous versions of the Debian/Ubuntu systems, or if you want to install the latest version, you may first need:
$ sudo apt-get install python-pip build-essential python-dev libffi-dev libssl-dev
$ sudo dnf install python-pip python-devel libffi-devel openssl-devel gcc-c++ libtool redhat-rpm-config.
Note: If you get errors like
fatal error: sodium.h: No such file or directory on Linux, either use
SODIUM_INSTALL=bundled pip install magic-wormhole, or try installing the
package. These work around a bug in pynacl which gets confused when the
libsodium runtime is installed (e.g.
libsodium13) but not the development
On Windows, python2 may work better than python3. On older systems,
$ pip install --upgrade pip may be necessary to get a version that can compile all
the dependencies. Most of the dependencies are published as binary wheels,
but in case your system is unable to find these, it will have to compile
them, for which Microsoft Visual C++ 9.0 may be required. Get it from
- Moving a file to a friend's machine, when the humans can speak to each other (directly) but the computers cannot
- Delivering a properly-random password to a new user via the phone
- Supplying an SSH public key for future login use
Copying files onto a USB stick requires physical proximity, and is uncomfortable for transferring long-term secrets because flash memory is hard to erase. Copying files with ssh/scp is fine, but requires previous arrangements and an account on the target machine, and how do you bootstrap the account? Copying files through email first requires transcribing an email address in the opposite direction, and is even worse for secrets, because email is unencrypted. Copying files through encrypted email requires bootstrapping a GPG key as well as an email address. Copying files through Dropbox is not secure against the Dropbox server and results in a large URL that must be transcribed. Using a URL shortener adds an extra step, reveals the full URL to the shortening service, and leaves a short URL that can be guessed by outsiders.
Many common use cases start with a human-mediated communication channel, such as IRC, IM, email, a phone call, or a face-to-face conversation. Some of these are basically secret, or are "secret enough" to last until the code is delivered and used. If this does not feel strong enough, users can turn on additional verification that doesn't depend upon the secrecy of the channel.
The notion of a "magic wormhole" comes from the image of two distant wizards speaking the same enchanted phrase at the same time, and causing a mystical connection to pop into existence between them. The wizards then throw books into the wormhole and they fall out the other side. Transferring files securely should be that easy.
wormhole tool uses PAKE "Password-Authenticated Key Exchange", a family
of cryptographic algorithms that uses a short low-entropy password to
establish a strong high-entropy shared key. This key can then be used to
wormhole uses the SPAKE2 algorithm, due to Abdalla and
PAKE effectively trades off interaction against offline attacks. The only way for a network attacker to learn the shared key is to perform a man-in-the-middle attack during the initial connection attempt, and to correctly guess the code being used by both sides. Their chance of doing this is inversely proportional to the entropy of the wormhole code. The default is to use a 16-bit code (use --code-length= to change this), so for each use of the tool, an attacker gets a 1-in-65536 chance of success. As such, users can expect to see many error messages before the attacker has a reasonable chance of success.
The program does not have any built-in timeouts, however it is expected that both clients will be run within an hour or so of each other. This makes the tool most useful for people who are having a real-time conversation already, and want to graduate to a secure connection. Both clients must be left running until the transfer has finished.
The wormhole library requires a "Rendezvous Server": a simple WebSocket-based relay that delivers messages from one client to another. This allows the wormhole codes to omit IP addresses and port numbers. The URL of a public server is baked into the library for use as a default, and will be freely available until volume or abuse makes it infeasible to support. Applications which desire more reliability can easily run their own relay and configure their clients to use it instead. Code for the Rendezvous Server is included in the library.
The file-transfer commands also use a "Transit Relay", which is another
simple server that glues together two inbound TCP connections and transfers
data on each to the other. The
wormhole send file mode shares the IP
addresses of each client with the other (inside the encrypted message), and
both clients first attempt to connect directly. If this fails, they fall back
to using the transit relay. As before, the host/port of a public server is
baked into the library, and should be sufficient to handle moderate traffic.
The protocol includes provisions to deliver notices and error messages to clients: if either relay must be shut down, these channels will be used to provide information about alternatives.
wormhole send [args] --text TEXT
wormhole send [args] FILENAME
wormhole send [args] DIRNAME
wormhole receive [args]
Both commands accept additional arguments to influence their behavior:
--code-length WORDS: use more or fewer than 2 words for the code
--verify: print (and ask user to compare) extra verification string
wormhole module makes it possible for other applications to use these
code-protected channels. This includes Twisted support, and (in the future)
will include blocking/synchronous support too. See docs/api.md for details.
The file-transfer tools use a second module named
provides an encrypted record-pipe. It knows how to use the Transit Relay as
well as direct connections, and attempts them all in parallel.
TransitReceiver are distinct, although once the
connection is established, data can flow in either direction. All data is
encrypted (using nacl/libsodium "secretbox") using a key derived from the
PAKE phase. See
src/wormhole/cli/cmd_send.py for examples.
- Bugs and Patches: https://github.com/warner/magic-wormhole
- Chat: #magic-wormhole on irc.freenode.net
To set up Magic Wormhole for development, you will first need to install virtualenv.
Once you've done that,
git clone the repo,
cd into the root of the
repository, and run:
virtualenv venv source venv/bin/activate pip install --upgrade pip setuptools
Now your virtualenv has been activated. You'll want to re-run
source venv/bin/activate for every new terminal session you open.
To install Magic Wormhole and its development dependencies into your virtualenv, run:
pip install -e .[dev]
While the virtualenv is active, running
wormhole will get you the
Within your virtualenv, the command-line program
run the test suite:
This tests the entire
wormhole package. If you want to run
only the tests for a specific module, or even just a specific test,
you can specify it instead via Python's standard dotted
import notation, e.g.:
Developers can also just clone the source tree and run
tox to run the unit
tests on all supported (and installed) versions of python: 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, and
Every so often, you might get a traceback with the following kind of error:
pkg_resources.DistributionNotFound: The 'magic-wormhole==0.9.1-268.g66e0d86.dirty' distribution was not found and is required by the application
If this happens, run
pip install -e .[dev] again.
Relevant xkcd :-)
This library is released under the MIT license, see LICENSE for details.
This library is compatible with python2.7, 3.4, 3.5, and 3.6 . It is probably compatible with py2.6, but the latest Twisted (>=15.5.0) is not.