Qualys Option Profiles for Vulnerability Scanning

When I wrote about vulnerability scanning in Nessus, I described there in detail how Nessus scan profile looks like. And when I wrote about VM scanning in Qualys, I did not mentioned scan profiles at all. But it’s also an interesting topic. In Qualys scan profile you can’t specify which vulnerability check will run during the scan, as in Nessus (Upd. Actually yes you can, but in some different manner; I added how to do it in “Scan” section). However, you can also see some options that can affect the way you do the vulnerability scanning with Qualys.

The main option for me – the lists of scanning ports. By default Qualys does not check all the ports and that could negatively affect host detection during unauthenticated scanning.

Creating new scan profile: Vulnerability Management -> Option Profiles -> New

Qualys option profiles


Setting title and owner of the profile. We can use this profile as a default for launching maps and scans or share it with other Qualys users in our organization ( “Make this a globally available option profile”).

qualys new option profile


Setting options for TCP and UPD ports to “Full” is the only change I have done in the profile.

qualys scanning ports

Here are all available configuration options:


TCP Ports. Select the TCP ports you want scanned. A “Full” setting may increase scan time and is not recommended for Class C or larger networks.

  • None
  • Full
  • Standard Scan (about 1900 ports) View list
  • Light Scan (about 160 ports) View list
  • Additional (ex: 1-1024, 8080)

Perform 3-way Handshake

UDP Ports. Select the UDP ports you want scanned.

  • None
  • Full
  • Standard Scan (about 180 ports) View list
  • Light Scan (about 30 ports) View list
  • Additional (up to 1,500 ports) (ex: 1-1024, 8080)

Authoritative Option

Full and Standard port scans affect the vulnerability status for all vulnerabilities on target hosts. Partial port scans, by default, only affect the vulnerability status for vulnerabilities detected on those specific ports. Vulnerability status is reported in tickets, host information, auto scan reports and other UI views.

By selecting the option below, partial port scans affect the vulnerability status for all vulnerabilities on the target hosts, not just vulnerabilities on the scanned ports.

[] Update the status for all vulnerabilities on target hosts

Scan Dead Hosts

By default dead hosts are ignored. Including them may increase scan time, and is not suggested for Class C or larger networks.

Include dead hosts in scans


Configure performance options for scanning your network.

Overall Performance: Normal

Load Balancer Detection

With this option enabled, the scanner will attempt to identify load balancers and the number of Web servers behind them.

Search for load balancers during scan

Password Brute Forcing

Select the level of password brute forcing performed by scans. An “Exhaustive” setting will increase scan time.

  • System
  • Custom

Vulnerability Detection

  • Complete
  • Custom
  • Select at runtime


  • Basic host information checks View list
  • OVAL checks


  • Excluded QIDs


Authentication enables the scanner to log into hosts at scan time to extend detection capabilities. See the online help to learn how to configure this option.

  • Windows
  • Unix/Cisco IOS
  • Oracle
  • Oracle Listener
  • SNMP
  • VMware
  • DB2
  • HTTP
  • MySQL

Additional Certificate Detection

We’ll find certificates on ports/services with full port scans by default. Enable this option to find certificates in more locations using authentication, for example in Apache, Tomcat, Java KeyStore and Windows IIS. Authentication is required.

Enable additional certificate detection

Dissolvable Agent

A Manager must first accept the Dissolvable Agent for your subscription. Once accepted, you can select it for this profile, and select the Windows Share Enumeration feature (requires the Agent).

  • Enable the Dissolvable Agent
  • Enable Windows Share Enumeration

Lite OS Scan

Only interested in OS detection? Select this option and include QID 45017 in the scan (under Vulnerability Detection).
Enable lite OS detection

Add a Custom HTTP Header value

Set a custom value in order to drop defenses (such as logging, IPs, etc) when authorized scans are being run.

Dissolvable Agents are interesting feature. It’s different from the agents I wrote last time in “Dealing with Qualys Cloud Agents”. Dissolvable agent must be installed on Windows devices to conduct the some special scan capabilities. It will remove itself when scan is complete.

qualys new option profile scan

Upd. Setting checks you want to run during the scan

In this Scan section you can specify what plugins will run during the scan. In Vulnerability Detection you can set Lists of QIDs that should be enabled or disabled.

Vulnerability Detection

If you press on Add list you will see menu like this. You can choose available Search List or import it from Search List Library.

Search vulnerability lists

Search list is quite an extensive collection:

  • Adobe Vulnerabilities v.1
  • CVSS Critical Vulnerabilities v.1
  • Confirmed Severity 4+5 Vulnerabilities v.1
  • Critical Vulnerabilities with Associated Malware v.1
  • Critical Vulnerabilities with Vendor Patches v.1
  • Critical Vulnerabilities with Virtual Patches v.1
  • Database Vulnerabilities v.1
  • Enhanced Bash ShellShock HTTP-CGI Only Detection
  • Exploited Systems v.1
  • Heartbleed Detection
  • Inventory Results v.1
  • Microsoft Vulnerabilities v.1
  • Obsolete Software v.1
  • Patchable Severity 4+5 Vulnerabilities v.1
  • Remotely Exploitable Vulnerabilities v.1
  • SSL Certificates
  • Unix Authentication Results v.1
  • Web Server Vulnerabilities v.1
  • Windows Authentication Results v.1

And you can see which QIDs this Search List contain by pressing on (?) icon:

SearchList Inforamtion

You may ask, what if I would like to create my own Search List? It’s possible.

You need to go “Vulnerability Management -> KnowledgeBase -> Search List” and create static or dynamic list.

New Qualys Search List

Is Static List you just select QID from the Qualys Knowledge Base, in Dinamic List you set the criterias. Search mechanism is the same for both options and it is pretty advanced:

Qualys Dynamic List

When you save your Search List you can use it in Option Profile.

My Search List

Now let’s go to the next section of Option Profile – Map.

Qualys Maps is a of inventorization scanning. As a result of the scan, you get something like:

Qualys Map Example

So, configuring Map Scanning looks like this:

qualys scan profile map

All available Map scanning configuration options:

Perform Basic Information Gathering on

  • All Hosts
  • Registered Hosts only
  • Netblock Hosts only
  • None

TCP Ports   (maximum 20)

  • Standard Scan (13 ports) View list
  • Additional (ex: 1-7, 8080)

UDP Ports   (maximum 10)

  • Standard Scan (6 ports) View list
  • Additional(ex: 1-9, 8080)


  • Perform Live Host Sweep Note: Edit host discovery options on the Additional tab.
  • Disable DNS traffic  Note: Applies to maps on target domains with netblock(s).


Configure performance options for mapping your network.
Overall Performance: Normal


Authentication enables the scanner to log into hosts at scan time to extend detection capabilities. See the online help to learn how to configure this option.



In the additional settings, you can specify the ports that you don’t want to scan and packets  you want to ignore.

qualys scan profile additional

Host Discovery

TCP Ports

  • TCP (maximum 20)
  • Standard Scan (13 ports) View list
  • Additional(ex: 1-6, 1024)

UDP Ports

  • UDP (maximum 6)
  • Standard Scan (6 ports) View list
  • Custom


Blocked Resources

Specify ports protected by your firewall/IDS. This option overrides TCP and UDP port settings on the Scan tab and is only applicable to scans.

  • WatchGuard default blocked ports View list
  • Custom port list (ex: 111,431,2004)

Specify IP addresses and ranges protected by your firewall/IDS.

  • All registered IPs
  • Custom IP list (ex:,


  • Ignore firewall-generated TCP RST packets. Note: This option applies to scans and maps.
  • Ignore all TCP RST packets. Note: This option applies only to maps.
  • Ignore firewall-generated TCP.  SYN-ACK packets
  • Do not send TCP ACK or SYN-ACK packets during host discovery.   Note: For scans, this option applies only if the 3-way handshake option is disabled.

Click on “Save” and here we can see new “My Option Profile”

my option profile

We can select this profile while launching new Vulnerability Scan:

new scan option profile



One thought on “Qualys Option Profiles for Vulnerability Scanning

  1. Pingback: Testing F-Secure Radar Vulnerability Management solution | Alexander V. Leonov

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