Tag Archives: OpenVAS

ZeroNights16: Enterprise Vulnerability Management

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.

Alex ArkanoiD Smirnov, Alexander Leonov, Ekaterina Pukhareva at ZeroNights 2016

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.

Vulnerability Scanners and 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 labsHigh-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.

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Seccubus installation and GUI overview

Seccubus can be roughly described as an open source analogue of Tenable SecurityCenter. Look, it can launch scans via APIs of Nessus, OpenVAS, and some other scanning tools, retrieve scan results, parse them and put in MySQL database. Then you can make SQL queries and work with scans in asset-based way (as you know, it is trending now).


Well, Seccubus is not yet a fancy-looking security product. You will need to spend some time to install and configure it, but still it is a very interesting project with a great potential.

Seccubus also may serve as open project that will accumulate expertise in API usage for various Vulnerability Scanners. Another project of such kind is OpenVAS, it’s OSPd scripts and connectors.

In this post I will describe installation process an show elements of GUI web-interface.

I installed Seccubus in CentOS 6 x86_64. I also tried CentOS 6 i386 and it worked fine. However, I can’t recommend you to install official Seccubus packages in CentOS 7 and the latest Debian-based systems. I had some issues with dependencies and Apache configuration. It seems like these systems are not fully supported yet. Security patches for CentOS 6.8 will be available until 30 Nov 2020, so anyway we have time.

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Fast comparison of Nessus and OpenVAS knowledge bases

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.

CVE links from NASL plugins

All CVEs: 80196
OpenVAS CVE links: 29240
Nessus CVE links: 35032
OpenVAS vs. Nessus: 3787;25453;9579

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Processing Vulners collections using Python

Vulners collection is a zip archive containing all available objects of some type (e.g. CentOS security bulletins or OpenVAS detection plugins) from the Vulners Knowledge Base. Let’s see how to work with this data using powerful Python scripting language. You can read more about Vulners itself at “Vulners – Google for hacker“.

Vulners Collections and python

All collections are listed at https://vulners.com/#stats:

Vulners Stats

Note a gray icon with black arrow. Press it to download particular vulners collection.

OpenVAS collection link: https://vulners.com/api/v3/archive/collection/?type=openvas

If you need to get all objects for further analysis, you don’t need to make huge amount simmilar Search API requests. You just need to download one file. It’s takes less time and efforts and makes less load on Vulners service.
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OpenVAS plugins in Vulners.com

Great news! Vulners.com vulnerability search engine now supports OpenVAS detection plugins.

OpenVAS plugins Vulners

Why OpenVAS is important?

OpenVAS is the most advanced open source vulnerability scanner and is the base for many Vulnerability Management products.

Key vendors that produce OpenVAS-based products are Greenbone and Acunetix. There are some local vendors, such as Scaner VS by Russian company NPO Echelon.

“Vanilla” OpenVAS is also widely used when there is no budget for a commercial solution or it’s necessary to solve some specific problems, including developing own plugins for vulnerability detection. OpenVAS is integrated with wide range of information security systems, for example it is a default VM solution for AlienVault SIEM.

OpenVAS is well suited for education purposes as it is well documented and uses only open source code. For OpenVAS it’s always clear how the it works.

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