According to the public interface screenshots and Tenable.io datasheets, it will have some new dashboards and reports, free integration with PVS and Nessus deployed on-premise, and something very new in asset management.
In this post I will briefly describe how Nessus .audit-based Compliance Management works, why I like it, what could be improved and why I suppose Tenable won’t do it soon. 😉
Nessus compliance checks are mainly presented in a form of special .audit scripts. This scripting language is very different from familiar NASL (Nessus Attack Scripting Language).
Basically, it is a collection of universal checks for various objects (e.g. existence of the line or parameter in the file, access permissions of the file, service status, etc.). Of course, nowadays Сompliance Management is not only about Operating System and software (mis)configuration. We have different network devices, databases, cloud services, etc. but originally it was the main case.
By combining the universal checks any requirement of low-level configuration standard (CIS, DISA, etc.) can be implemented. The similar principles are used in OVAL/SCAP content.
17-18 November I was at the great event — Zero Nights security conference in Moscow. For the first time as a speaker. Being a part of such famous and prestigious security event was very exciting. There were three of us, Ekaterina Pukhareva, Alex Smirnoff and me, and only 20 minutes available for all. I was talking mainly about VM solution problems and custom reporting/ticketing, Ekaterina shared some experience in using Tenable SecurityCenter for Vulnerability and Compliance management, and Alex was talking mainly about Asset and Risk Management.
Presentation was recorded and some time later video will be available on YouTube. However, I suppose audio will be only in Russian not earlier than February 2017. So I think it will be a much more useful to share some points of the presentation right now. Lucky here I don’t have any time restrictions. =)
The first thing to say about Vulnerability Scanners and Vulnerability Management product is that there are plenty of them. On this picture I mentioned some of the products/vendors.
Some of them are highly specialized, like ErpScan for SAP, others are universal. Some of them are presented globally: Tenable Nessus / SecurityCenter, Rapid 7 Nexpose, Qualys, F-Secure etc., others are known mainly in Russia: Positivie Technologies Maxpatrol, Altx-Soft RedCheck, Echelon Scaner-VS. Some products are expansive, some of them not and even have versions available for free: OpenVAS, SecPod Saner Personal, Altx-Soft ComplianceCheck, Qualys SSL labs, High-Tech Bridge SSL Server Security Test, etc.
In my opinion the main problems of VM solutions are expansiveness and low reliability of the scan results.
In my opinion, quality of knowledge base is the most important characteristic of Vulnerability Management (VM) product. Maybe it’s because I have spent significant amount of time making different security content for vulnerability scanners and this is some form of professional deformation. 🙂 The fact is that nowadays we have dozens of VM solutions on the market, which have very different knowledge bases and thus different abilities for detecting vulnerabilities. And really nobody talk about this. I can recommend related post “Tenable doesn’t want to be Tenable anymore” and especially HD Moore’s comment to that post. It describes the reason why nobody interested now in quality of detection. Maximum what we, end-users, can hear from the vendor about it’s knowledge base is an amount of vulnerability checks: 40000-80000 and approximate list of supported systems. There is a massive false belief that detection quality of the products is approximately the same and it’s better talk about dashboards, reports, SIEM-like capabilities. To demonstrate that the difference actually exists I made a pretty primitive comparison of Nessus and OpenVAS knowledge bases.
I chose these two products, mainly because information on their NASL plugins is available at Vulners.com. As I also wrote earlier how you can use easily parse Vulners archives in python, so you can repeat it for yourself. I talked about this topic at Pentestit webinar about Vulners. If you are familiar with Russian, you can also check this out. 😉 The slides for this presentation are available here.
Why I call this comparison fast and primitive? I don’t define the structure of KBs for this product and don’t carefully map one nasl script to another. I suppose it may be a theme for another posts. Instead I am looking at the CVE links. If two scanners detect can the same vulnerabilities, they should have the same CVE links in all the NASL scripts, right? In reality we have a great difference between the products and more than a half of the CVEs can’t be detected by using both of them.
All CVEs: 80196
OpenVAS CVE links: 29240
Nessus CVE links: 35032
OpenVAS vs. Nessus: 3787;25453;9579