If you are reading this post, then most probably you know about what vulnerability is. Even though you are having an in-depth knowledge of computer security and you take proper procedures to weed out any possible vulnerability. But it’s very hard (if not impossible) to manually detect all vulnerabilities in the system. Neither it’s very practical way. Because every few days a new kind of exploit comes by.
That’s where vulnerability scanners come handy since they can help you catch all the vulnerability in your system without doing any manual work. They literally automate your security audit and have a great impact on your IT security.These vulnerability scanners can detect thousands of types of weak links in the security chain of your Networks and websites. And list up those security risks according to their priority, with detailed description and ways to patch them.
Generally, the best vulnerability scanner can put a hole in your pocket but there is freeware as well, thanks to Open Source. Some of these tools are made for scanning a specific security threat while others are pretty much all in one vulnerability scanner.
So without much ado, let’s take a look at 10 best vulnerability scanner.
Disclaimer: This list isn’t ranked as per features and functionality, this list is merely a compilation. You can use any one of them as per your needs.
10 Best Vulnerability Scanner.
Platforms – Windows, Linux, MacOS, Solaris, Free BSD, VMware.
Nessus is undoubtedly world’s best vulnerability scanner. Developed by Tenable.inc, Nessus holds the top spot in terms of widespread use and popularity, approximately it is used by 75000+ organization all over the world.
Nessus contains a plethora of features when it comes to vulnerability scanning, some of them includes.
- Vulnerabilities that allow a remote hacker to control or access sensitive data on a system.
- Misconfiguration (e.g. open mail relay, missing patches, etc.).
- Default passwords, a few common passwords, and blank/absent passwords on some system accounts. Nessus can also call Hydra (an external tool) to launch a dictionary attack.
- Denials of service against the TCP/IP stack by using malformed packets
- Preparation for PCI DSS audits
Nessus has four internal portscanners which it uses in a scanning process, additionally, it can use additional portscanners like Nmap to find the vulnerable open ports in the targets using various exploits. Once the scan is done you can export the scan report in various file formats like Plain Text, XML, HTML etc.In Linux Systems you can even automate the scanning process from Terminal.
Nessus is regularly updated with plugins to deal with new vulnerabilities. Tenable.inc pushes new plugins within 24 hours after the vulnerability has gone public. Because new vulnerabilities appear nearly every day, users receive daily plug-in updates to stay current.
Nessus does not include penetration testing capabilities, but you can integrate it with pen-testing tools, like Metasploit Framework, to get an insight into the security risk without the need for an exploit.
Nessus is free for personal use in non-commercial environment.
2. Acutenix Vulnerability Scanner
Platform – Windows, Web Interface.
Unlike Nessus, Acutenix is not an all in one solution but rather it is for a specific purpose. It is certainly the best vulnerability scanner when it comes to scanning Web sites, Web Application, and Web-Servers.
According to Acutenix- “Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner is an automated web application security testing tool that audits your web applications by checking for vulnerabilities like SQL Injection, Cross-site scripting (XSS), and other exploitable vulnerabilities.”
Some Of The Key Features and Functions of Acutenix Vulnerability Scanner Are.
- Vulnerability Scanning & Detection – Acutenix has the ability to scan any websites, let it be HTML, Php or any JS website. While other tools often take a long time to do the scan, Acutenix is pretty fast, in fact, fastest scanning I have ever come across.
- AcuSensor – This is an agent installation mainly done for Php and .NET web application on the web-server. This reduces the number of false positives as the Acutenix scanner is not only relying on HTTP responses but will also interact with the AcuSensor agent on the web server to determine whether the test was a success or failure.
- AcuMonitor – It enables Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner to find vulnerabilities, like Blind XSS, Server Side Request Forgery, and Email Header Injection.
- Tools Package – You don’t generally expect tools in a vulnerability scanner. With the tools like Site Crawler, Target Finder, Subdomain Scanner, Blind SQL Injector, HTTP Editor, HTTP Sniffer, HTTP Fuzzer, Authentication tester. Acutenix tools package certainly aids in the data of scan result.
- You can even schedule scanning of multiple sites, I found it very handy during busy hours and late nights.
Acutenix is known to detect around 4500 types of threats on Web Application and sites, most notably it is used to scan for WordPress vulnerabilities, in CMS’s core, themes, and plugins.
So if you are a web developer, Web server admin or simply a blogger like me who owns a WordPress website, then Acutenix is the certainly the best vulnerability scanner you can use.
3. Open VAS
Platform – Linux.
Open VAS stands for “Open Vulnerability Assesment System” It isn’t a single tool, but rather it’s a framework of several tools for vulnerability scanning and management. Open VAS was developed by Tenable.inc developers as a fork to their Nessus Vulnerability Scanner. But later the changed its source code to open source from its original proprietary (closed source) license. Aah! Good peoples.
With a database of over 530000 plugins (that’s more than every other tool combined in this list), OpenVAS can detect and patch almost any type of vulnerability out there.
In a typical scan, you just have to enter the target (Host Name, IP Address). Then You get to choose scan type like
- Full Scan (full test of network, server and web application vulnerabilities)
- Web Server Scan (Even more focused test for web server and web application vulnerabilities)
- Web Application Scan (for known Web Application vulnerabilities and web server issues)
Then just hit the start scan to initiate scanning, scan process isn’t blazing fast like Acutenix, but rather it’s a slow process typically take around 10-60 minutes. Once the scan is done you can see the scan result along with the detailed summary of each result.
OpenVAS is certainly the Most Powerful Vulnerability Scanner in our list. But it takes a decent knowledge of Linux and Command Line technicalities to use it. So if you are a Linux Guru then OpenVAS is the best vulnerability scanner you can find anywhere.
4. Retina Network Community
Platform – Windows, VMware.
Retina Network community is one of the easiest and best vulnerability scanner in the cybersecurity market. With a free tier of scanning up to 256 IP Addresses, Retina Network Community identifies and manages network vulnerabilities (including zero-day), configuration issues, and missing patches across operating systems, applications, devices, and virtual environments.
Some of its Key Features are.
- Vulnerability assessment of missing patches, zero-days and insecure, configurations.
- Simplify security assessment with user profiles.
- Improve risk management and prioritization with the integration of Core Impact, Metasploit, and Exploit-db.com.
- Full Support for VMware environments, including online and offline virtual image scanning, virtual application scanning, and integration with vCenter.
- Metro Style User Interface for a more streamlined access to its features.
Surely, not the best vulnerability scanner in terms of features but worth to try if you are a beginner.
5. Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA)
Platform – Windows.
You got the idea from the name it’s by Microsoft. Its developed for Windows Desktops and servers to perform remote and locals scans in order to identify any missing service packs, security patches, and common security misconfigurations across Windows Operating System, Edge (and Internet Explorer), IIS Server and Microsoft Office.
This software is relatively simple and easy to use. A typical scan starts with Choosing a computer name or IP Address. Later you choose what you want to scan for, including Windows, IIS and SQL administrative vulnerabilities, weak passwords, and Windows updates.
Once the scan is complete you’ll find overall security classification and categorized details of the results. For each item, you can click it to read details on what was scanned and how to patch it.
Despite being free and user-friendly, MBSA lacks scanning of advanced Windows settings, drivers, 3rd Party software, and network security threats. Nevertheless, it’s a great tool to help you find and minimize general security risks.
6. Nexpose Community Edition
Nexpose is a potent vulnerability scanner which scans for security threats in networks, operating systems, web applications, databases, and virtual environments. But the Free community edition limits you to scan just up to 32 IP Addresses concurrently.
Some of the Nexpose’s impressive Features include.
- Monitor the exposure of vulnerabilities in real-time, familiarize itself with new hazards.
- Categorize the risks using a high or medium or low scale.
- Nexpose considers the age of the vulnerability like which malware kit is used in it, what advantages are used by it etc. and fix the issue based on its priority.
- Nexpose automatically detects and scans the new devices and assess the vulnerabilities when they access the network.
- Nexpose can be integrated with a Metasploit framework.
Post Installation, Nexpose is accessed through a web portal. A Typical scan starts with entering the IPs and URL. Then You select the scanning preferences, scanning schedule, and provide any necessary credentials for scanned assets.
Once the scanning is done, you will see detailed reports on found vulnerabilities along with ways to fix them, You can also generate and export reports on a variety of aspects.
Nexpose is not the most awesome tool on this list, neither it’s very mediocre tool. It certainly packs a punch, but a limit of 32 IP address makes it impractical for larger networks (Even though you can get 7Day free trial of Pro edition). If you own a small network to scan, the Nexpose might be the best vulnerability scanner for you. Because It Just Works!!
7. Core Impact
Platform – Windows, Linux, OsX, VMware, HyperV.
If you are looking for a business class solution then Core Impact is your weapon of choice (I mean it’s the Swiss Army Knife of Vulnerability Scanners). With a hefty price tag, this is the most costly one on this list. But with its hefty price comes a plethora of features, I mean if you add all of the features of every tool on this list it can match core impact. Or more simply, its a more powerful version of OpenVAS with a super easy user interface.
It is widely considered to be the most powerful exploitation tool available for enterprises. It sports a large, regularly updated database of professional exploits, and can do neat tricks like exploiting one machine and then establishing an encrypted tunnel through that machine to reach and exploit other boxes.
Using Core Impact we can allow simulated attacks across mobiles, web, and networks. Without any restrictions on a number of IP addresses. It also automates the patching process of the threat. Just like Nessus, It’s database is updated regularly to stay current with new threats.
8. Qualys Free Scan
Platform – Windows, Linux, Mac OsX, Vmware, HyperV.
Qualys FreeScan is one of the best vulnerability scanner in the market, It can be accessed through its web portal. As they say “It’s a free scanner and all you need is a web browser“. Just visit their site and create a free account and right from there you can start hunting for security loopholes in network, servers, desktops or web apps. Scanning takes just minutes to catch all the vulnerabilities posing security threats.
Qualys Free Scan Lets You:
- Scan computers, servers and web-application on the Internet or in your network.
- Detect security vulnerabilities and the patches needed to fix them.
- View interactive scan reports by threat or by the patch.
- Perimeter scanning – detects security vulnerabilities across the entire network.
- Web application scanning – detects vulnerabilities in web applications of all sizes.
- Malware detection – scans websites for malware infections and threats.
- Test websites & apps for OWASP Top Risks and malware.
- Test computers against SCAP security benchmarks.
You can use it for commercial purpose also. But the drawback is, with the free version you can only scan up to just 10 of your unique internet accessible assets. But still, I highly recommend this one, It does its job pretty well. Worth to give a shot.
You Saw This one Coming, Didn’t You?
Metasploit is rather a penetration testing framework. What made it special is, you can make your own exploit to specifically target a system.
The basic steps for exploiting a system using the Metasploit Framework include:
- Choosing and configuring an exploit (code that enters a target system by taking advantage of one of its bugs; about 900 different exploits for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX systems are included);
- Optionally checking whether the intended target system is susceptible to the chosen exploit.
- Choosing and configuring a payload (code that will be executed on the target system upon successful entry; for instance, a remote shell or a VNC server).
- Choosing the encoding technique so that the intrusion-prevention system (IPS) ignores the encoded payload;
- Executing the exploit.
If You Want to be an Ethical Hacker or more specifically a security analyst. This is the best thing you can learn.
10. Nikto Web Scanner
Platform – Linux, Mac OSX (A Different Variant)
Nikto is like Spiderman of Avengers. Small but packs a solid punch. Nikto is used to test a Web Site, Virtual Host and Web Server for known security vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.
Nikto performs over 6000 tests on a website. A large number of tests for both security vulnerabilities and misconfigured web servers makes it a must-have tool for many security professionals and systems administrators. It can find forgotten scripts and other hard to detect problems from an external perspective.
Nikto has a huge list of features, all of which can’t be listed. But some of the notable features are.
Here are some of the major features of Nikto. See the documentation for a full list of features and how to use them.
- SSL Support (Unix with OpenSSL or maybe Windows with ActiveState’s
- Full HTTP proxy support.
- Checks for outdated server components.
- Save reports in plain text, XML, HTML or CSV
- Scan multiple ports on a server, or multiple servers via input file (including Nmap output)
- Easily updated via command line
- Identifies installed software via headers, favicons, and files. (Wapplyzer – web browser extension is a great alternative to find what a website uses)
- Subdomain guessing
- Apache and cgiwrap username enumeration
- Mutation techniques to “fish” for content on web servers
- Authorization guessing handles any directory, not just the root
- Enhanced false positive reduction via multiple methods: headers,
page content, and content hashing
- Reports “unusual” headers seen
Nikto is also available for Mac OSX as MacNikto. It is an AppleScript GUI shell script wrapper built in Apple’s Xcode and Interface Builder. It provides easy access to a subset of the features available in the Open Source, command-line driven Nikto web security scanner, installed along with the MacNikto application.
To Start Scanning Vulnerabilities with Nikto, Just Download the tool. Enter your target. And hit “Begin Test”
These Are Some More Free And Best Vulnerability Scanner You Can Try.
- BurpSuite (Linux)
- OWASP Zed Attack Proxy
- AppScan by IBM
- WebReaver (Mac)
- Safe3 Web Vulnerability Scanner
- Wireshark (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
- Aircrack-ng (Wireless Vulnerability Scanning, ex. WiFi Hacking)
So This Was a list of best vulnerability scanner, although there are hundreds of vulnerability scanners out there. Many of which I may have missed listing here. If you know of any other scanners which deserve to be featured here, or If you have used any one of these Vulnerability scanners, Do Let Us Know In Comment Section Down Below. We Love Hearing From You!!