The OpenVAS scanner is a comprehensive vulnerability assessment system that can detect security issues in all manner of servers and network devices. Use this hosted version of the OpenVAS software to easily test your Internet infrastructure.
Results will be delivered to your email address for analysis; allowing you to start re-mediating any risks your systems face from external threats.
Vulnerability scans performed from externally hosted servers give you the same perspective as an attacker.
- Find security vulnerabilities in services on an Internet facing system.
- Detect known web application vulnerabilities on Web Servers.
- Understand any security issues through detailed reporting so that risk assessment and re-mediation can be undertaken.
Why would I use the OpenVAS scanner?
The primary reason to use this scan type is to perform comprehensive security testing of an IP address. It will initially perform a port scan of an IP address to find open services. Once listening services are discovered they are then tested for known vulnerabilities and mis-configuration using a large database (more than 28000 NVT checks). The results are then compiled into a report with detailed information regarding each vulnerability and notable issues discovered.
Once you receive the results of the tests, you will need to check each finding for relevance and possibly false positives. Any confirmed vulnerabilities should be re-mediated to ensure your systems are not at risk.
A secondary use of this scan type is to test incident response processes and Intrusion Detection / Prevention systems. Being an aggressive and noisy scan type; security network monitoring should detect the scan and provide alerts to your security monitoring solution.
How do I run an OpenVAS scan?
1. Enter the target IP address
2. Select report type, the PDF based report has some additional information related to the target IP address that is gathered using open source means. A quick firewall review is also performed using results from the port scan. The default HTML report format, is the default HTML output from a standard OpenVAS scan.
3. Click on the start button to have the scan initiated, results will be delivered to your registered email address within around 20 – 60 mins, although some scans can take longer.
Technical details of the scan configuration
A number of high end Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are hosting OpenVAS 7, this is the latest version of the scanner. The NVT’s or vulnerability database is updated daily, using the open source signature feed.
OpenVAS is configured to run using batch mode and the
OMP command line client. The scan is a “Full and Fast Scan”. External NASL wrappers for
wapiti have been disabled. This gives a good balance of testing thousands of vulnerabilities while keeping the speed and reliability of the scan solid as you would expect in an automated vulnerable scan. We have our standalone Nikto security scanner available for a focused web server scan.
If you are technically minded; an interesting way to develop your understanding of different scanners and tools such as OpenVAS is to run a packet capture whilst the scan is running. Using
Wireshark can reveal details of the tests that are being performed, and you can closely monitor what is happening on your system and network.
About the OpenVAS project
OpenVas is an open source vulnerability scanner that can test a system for security holes using a database of over 28’0000 test plugins. The complete OpenVAS suite consists of a number of components that provide a framework for management of a complete vulnerability management solution.
Whether you are using the standalone tool or the service we offer here OpenVAS is a excellent way to test an Internet connected server, firewall and listening services for configuration errors and known vulnerabilities.
An alternative to commercial security scanning solutions
Depending on your needs and your budget there are a number of different well known vulnerability scanners available.
For those with the budget running OpenVAS alongside a commercial vulnerability scanner can be an excellent way to validate results and get a more accurate picture. Comparing results from two or more different solutions can reveal false positives and false negatives.
Best practice vulnerability scanning requires that you utilize multiple tools. This is similar to email threat mitigation using multiple solutions (an email filtering gateway and a local end point anti-virus product that use different scan engines). While you may use a commercial vulnerability scanner or service such as Nessus, Nexpose or GFI Languard; having a hosted version of OpenVAS available is excellent way to get a second set of results for a public Internet facing service.
One of the advantages of OpenVAS being open source, is that when you receive a false positive; you are able to review the plugin to determine why the vulnerability was flagged. OpenVAS has a strong community of security practitioners and posting any false positive to the OpenVAS mailing list often results in immediate feedback. This can result in the false positive being fixed within hours to the benefit of the whole community.