Tag Archives: Tenable SecurityCenter

PHDays VII: To Vulnerability Database and beyond

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, May 23-24, I attended PHDays VII conference in Moscow. I was talking there about vulnerability databases and the evolution process of vulnerability assessment tools, as far as I understand it.

To Vulnerability Database and beyond

But first of all, a few words about the conference itself. I can tell that since the last year the event got even better. I’ve seen lot of new faces. Some people I didn’t know, but they knew me by my blog and accounts in social networks. What a strange, strange time we live in! I was very pleased to see and to talk with you all, guys! 🙂

PHDays is one of the few events that truly brings all Russian community of security professionals together. I’ve seen people I have studied with in university, colleagues from the all places where I have been worked, and nearly all researchers and security practitioners that I follow. Big thanks for the organizers, Positive Technologies, for such an amazing opportunity!

It is also a truly international event. You can see speakers from all over the world. And all information is available both in Russian and English. Almost all slides are in English. Three parallel streams of reports, workshops and panel discussions were dubbed by professional simultaneous interpreters, like it is a United Nations sessions or something, recorded and broadcast live by the team of operators and directors. Final result looks really great.

Video of my presentation:

I was talking too fast and used some expressions that was hard to translate. The translator, however, did an awesome job. He is my hero! 🙂 If you didn’t understand something on video, I made a transcript bellow.

A version without translation for Russian-speakers is here.


Unfortunately gif animation is not working in the Slideshare viewer.

Today I would like to discuss vulnerability databases and how vulnerability assessment systems has been evolving. Prior to discussing vulnerability databases I need to say that any vulnerability is just a software error, a bug, that allowing hacker to do some cool things. Software developers and vendors post information about such vulnerabilities on their websites. And there are tons and tones of vendors, and websites, and software products, and vulnerabilities.

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Tracking software versions using Nessus and Splunk

Let’s say you have already exported scan results from Nessus or Tenable SecurityCenter to Splunk using HTTP event connector, or in some other way. And you see that some critical software vulnerability was published. For example, this month Jira critical vulnerability. How to find out, do we have vulnerable servers in our infrastructure or not?

Nessus plus Splunk

Of course we can start a new Nessus scan to detect vulnerable hosts. However, Nessus plugin for this particular vulnerability may be released with a big latency and you will not find this vulnerability in your scans. So, it’s may be faster just to search for detected Jira servers in available scan results using Splunk searching mechanism.

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Tenable.IO VM: connected scanners and asset UUIDs

I have already wrote earlier about new features of Tenable.io VM cloud vulnerability scanner. In this post, I would like to show how Tenable.io cloud service works with Nessus scanner deployed inside your network. Spoiler! Everything is very different from Nessus and Tenable SecurityCenter.

Nessus registration process

I also would like to demonstrate how Nessus creates Asset IDs (Tenable UUIDs) on the the host during authenticated scanning and how can we get this IDs from the scan results.

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Parsing Nessus v2 XML reports with python

Previous post about Nessus v2 reports I was writing mainly about the format itself. Now let’s see how you can parse them with Python.

Please don’t work with XML documents the same way you process text files. I adore bash scripting and awk, but that’s an awful idea to use it for XML parsing. In Python you can do it much easier and the script will work much faster. I will use lxml library for this.

So, let’s assume that we have Nessus xml report. We could get it using Nessus API or SecurityCenter API. First of all, we need to read content of the file.

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Installing Nessus for SecurityCenter on laptop

The great thing about Tenable SecurityCenter: when you buy it you also get hundreds of licenses for Nessus.  You can google different types of SecurityCenter bundles with “SecurityCenter Continuous View – On Premise” request. “Scanners” here mean SC scanners:

You will need these scanner licenses to deploy Nessus hosts on your network, connect them to your Tenable SecurityCenter and manage scan process using SecurityCenter via graphical user interface or API. Of course, with all the restrictions on amount of IP addresses that you can scan.

At the same time, these Nessus for SecurityCenter servers are fully functional. Technically this servers are the same as Nessus Professional. Nessus for SecurityCenter has the same web interface, where you can create multiple user accounts, manage the scans in GUI and API, scan any amount of IP addresses. Scan data will be stored locally on your Nessus server and your SecurityCenter will not see it or use it in any way. This is really great. And I hope it is a feature and not a bug.

However, there are some differences. Nessus Professional downloads security plugins and makes activation using remote Tenable severs. Nessus for SecurityCenter does these things using SecurityCenter in your network.

So, when you have such a great amount of Nessus licenses you may want to install one on your own laptop. It might be really useful for debugging. For example, when you are developing your own nasl scripts, to enable them in Nessus, you will need to restart it. And you will not probably want to do it on the Nessus server where dozens of scanning jobs are running.

In this post I will try to install Nessus on Centos 7 in VirtualBox, configure port forwarding, activate and update Nessus plugins with SecurityCenter.

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