Staying Secure with Nessus Vulnerability Scanner
This is a simple walk through guide to installing nessus, configuring nessus, and running the popular Nessus Vulnerability Scanner on Linux. From the Nessus website: Nessus is the world’s most popular vulnerability scanner used in over 75,000 organizations world-wide. Many of the world’s largest organizations are realizing significant cost savings by using Nessus to audit business-critical enterprise devices and applications. I use Nessus on a weekly basis to scan my servers and desktop machines, both Windows and Linux, for vulnerabilities. It has proved to be a vital tool for me personally and professionally, while not costing me a dime.
The distribution used in this document is Slackware 11.0 on a custom 18.104.22.168 kernel. While it is possible and sometimes needed to install Nessusd on a ‘server’ and NessusClient on a ‘workstation’, in this document, we go over installing Nessusd and NessusClient both on the same machine.
Installing Nessus 2.2.9:
For the most part, you will want to refer to the Nessus installation documents provided on the Nessus website. However, the easiest way to get Nessus installed is to download the installer that is suitable for all Unix systems. Visit the Nessus website and download the file. Once downloaded, execute it by typing:
root@foo:~# sh nessus-installer-2.2.9.sh
After completing the installation, you will want to create a certificate as well as add a nessusd user.
follow on screen instructions
follow on screen instructions
Now all we need to do is start the nessus daemon.
adam@foo:~# nessusd -D
Installing the Nessus GUI Client:
Since I find it easier to use the Nessus Client, we will go over that installation as well. First, go to Downloads area on the Nessus website and select the NessusClient 1.0.1 (a GUI for Nessusd). After downloading, install it by executing:
adam@foo:~/source/NessusClient-1.0.1$ ./configure && make
root@foo:~/source/NessusClient-1.0.1$ make install
Now execute NessusClient
Now you should see a pretty GUI.
Scanning a Host for Vulnerabilities:
For the purposes of this document, we will run a simple scan on our localhost with all the default configuration settings. Feel free to tinker with the settings to produce maximum results on your scans.
In order to scan a host for vulnerabilities, we must tell NessusClient that we want to create a new task and a new scope. Click Task > New and give your task a name of localscan.
We then need to tell NessusClient to connect to our nessus server daemon, which in this case will be localhost. Click on File > Connect, your screen should look something like this:
Once all settings are correct, click OK and NessusClient will connect to the nessus daemon. During connect, you should see a window telling you that Nessus is loading all the plugins.
Now all we need to do is tell the NessusClient to execute the scan by clicking on Scope > Execute. This will bring up a window that shows the status of the scan.
Once the scan is complete, Nessus will generate a report file that lists everything found during the scan along with the severity of each issue. Read through each item found and follow any solution instructions given.
Thats all! I would recommend reading through the documentation on the http://www.nessus.org/documentation/ website and adjusting the settings to fit your needs further.
Good luck and happy auditing!
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