Tag Archives: Qualys Cloud Suite

QSC16: from Vulnerability Management to IT Visibility

I want to share my impressions of QSC16 conference, where recently I had pleasure to attend. This yearly conference is held in Munich for ten years already. I was there before only one time, in 2012. It made a great impression and this year was no worse.

My photo QSC16

First of all, I should write some words about the conference itself. QSC is an acronym for Qualys Security Conference. It is clear from the name that it is fully dedicated to Qualys products.

Who might be interested in such event?

Mainly, of course, current and potential users of Qualys products, partners, competitors (from own experience, they are not welcomed there ;-)) and, I think it is the smallest group, analysts of Vulnerability Management market and Vulnerability Assessment geeks, like me. For people, who are sincerely interested in VM market changes, road show of the global VM vendor with the biggest market share (is it right, Gartner?) is a precious information source. Here you can learn about real experiences in the use of Qualys products and hear about the company’s future plans.

BTW, if you are one of those, and we do not know each other, we should definitely have a talk. šŸ˜‰

QSC Agenda

Why is this event important? Despite existing skepticism about mono-vendor conferences and roadshows, QSC is one of the few events in Europe dedicated to the VM, in the broad sense of the term, almost exclusively. All discussions are, of course, in the context of Qualys solutions and you won’t hear any real critics of the vendor, however questions raised there are relevant for the entire VM market.

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Qualys authenticated scanning

Let’s see how authenticated scanning works in Qualys. Nessus stores scanning credentials in related Scan Policy (see “Tenable Nessus: registration, installation, scanning and reporting“). Iit’s not always convenient. In Qualys you can set up a scanning record and configure for which hosts it will be used.

Login Credentials

I downloaded Qualys Virtual Scanning Appliance VirtualBox imageĀ  and configured it as it was described in “Using Qualys Virtual Scanner Appliance“. The only difference: I configured second network device as VirtualBox “Host Only Adapter” to scan virtual machines on my host. You can see how to configure VirtualBox “Host Only Adapter” in my post here.

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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

Title

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

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Dealing with Qualys Cloud Agents

Today I would like to write about Qualys agent-based VM scanning. Agent-based scanning is a relatively new trend among VM vendors. At the beginning of Vulnerability Assessment, there was a prevailing view that the agentless scanning is more convenient for the users: you do not need to install anything on the host, just get credentials and you are ready to scan.

Qualys Cloud Agents logo

However, time passed and it now appears that installing agents on all hosts, where it is technically possible, may be easier, than managing credentials for authenticated scanning. Don’t forget the fact that almost all agentless scanning solutions require scanning account with root/admin privileges, and it’s not an easy task to minimize permissions of this accounts while keeping all functional capabilities of the scanner.

In recent years almost all major VM vendors who previously were promoting agentless scanning have also proposed agent-based solutions.

The main purposes of these solutions are:

  • scan devices that periodically connect to the enterprise network and it’s hard to catch them with traditional active scan (for example, laptop);
  • scan business critical hosts for which it is impossible to get scanning credentials.

VM vendors have taken different approaches for agent-based scanning. For example, Tenable agents are technically very similar to Nessus installations without web interface (read more at “Nessus Manager and Agents“), limited to can scan only the localhost. This seems reasonable, because historically Nessus scanner is available for many platforms, including Windows, Linux, MacOS. Qualys chose other way. They made minimalistic agents for data gathering, processing it on the remote servers. This is also fits well in Qualys cloud concept.

As I wrote earlier in “Qualys Vulnerability Management GUI and API“, Qualys working hard to make their web interface easier for beginners. When you go to CA (Cloud Agents) tab, the first thing you see is a user-friendly interface for quick start.

Cloud Agents Welcome

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Using Qualys Virtual Scanner Appliance

In a previous post about Qualys VM I mentioned Qualys Scanner Appliances, which you can use to scan hosts inside your network. Let’s see how to configure and use them.

Qualys Virtual Scanner Appliance

To add new Appliance go toĀ https://qualysguard.qualys.eu/fo/tools/scannerAppliances.php and press “New”. You can choose a Scanner Appliance (Hardware) or Virtual Scanner Appliance. For testing I would like to have an appliance in form of VirtualBox virtual machine, so I choose “Virtual Scanner Appliance”.

Setup wizard appeared:

Qualys virtual appliance wizard

I clicked on Download Image Only.

Qualys Virtual Scanner Appliance supports variety of virtualization platforms:

  • Standard (OVA)
  • OpenStack
  • VMware vApp
  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Amazon HVM Machine Image (Pre-Authorized Scanning)
  • Amazon HVM Machine Image
  • Microsoft Azure Marketplace Image
  • Google Compute Cloud Image

I choose standardĀ distribution package for this target platforms:

  • VMware vSphere: vCenter Server, ESXi
  • VMware Workstation, Player, Workstation Player, Fusion
  • Oracle VM VirtualBox
  • Citrix XenServer

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