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Top 6 Vulnerability Scanning Tools
Computer systems, software, applications, and other network interfaces are vulnerable to various threats. Failure to find these vulnerabilities can lead to the downfall of the company.
Hence, businesses conduct regular vulnerability assessments for their websites and networks to identify existing loopholes and weaknesses.
The assessment results can help developers and network administrators understand the security issues and implement the necessary defensive measures against the potential threats.
This article will go more in-depth on what a vulnerability scanner is. We’ll also provide six of the best open-source vulnerability scanning tools that are free and adaptable to various operating systems.
Let’s get started.
What is a Vulnerability Scanner?
As the name suggests, the term vulnerability scanner is assessing the vulnerabilities in a system or application. It automates security auditing and improves your IT security by scanning your website and network for various security risks.
The scanner can also generate a prioritized list of the vulnerabilities you should patch, describe what type of vulnerability it is, and provide the necessary steps to fix them. Some scanners also do automated patching.
It’s crucial to patch any vulnerabilities swiftly because they’re at a much higher risk of cyber-attacks. The threats let hackers enter your security system and exploit the vulnerabilities to their advantage, potentially causing an immense loss for your business.
Vulnerability scanners rely on a database of known vulnerabilities and automatically test for them. Just like installing fail2ban or antivirus software, these scanners play a crucial role in maintaining maximum security for your website.
Types of Vulnerability Scanners
Vulnerability scanners are classed into four broad categories, which are:
Data-based vulnerability scanner
In today’s digital world, databases are heavily burdened with storing critical organizational data. Losing such data can not only result in reputational damage but also potential monetary losses.
Data-based scanners search for vulnerabilities within databases, such as missing patches, weak passwords, and misconfigurations. They also highlight the weaknesses to users in real-time to allow a swift response.
Network-based vulnerability scanners
Seamless and constant connectivity within the network dramatically increases the risk of data compromise, hence the existence of network-based vulnerability scanners.
The scanner identifies weaknesses within the network and looks out for possible network security attacks in both wired and wireless systems in real-time.
Host-based vulnerability scanners
Even though it includes various security measures embedded in its platform, web hosting can still have some weak spots.
Hence host-based vulnerability scanners can be installed on every host within the system to provide in-depth insight on potential vulnerabilities and damages done by insiders or outsiders who have partial access.
Cloud-based vulnerability scanners
The increased dependency on cloud solutions, especially during this new normal remote working style, has also contributed to the tremendous demand for cloud-based vulnerability scanners.
These scanners primarily scan and detect possible risks to websites and other online assets that a business has.
Top 6 Vulnerability Scanning Tools
There are many vulnerability scanning tools available online. They can be paid, free, or open-sourced.
When looking for a vulnerability scanner, you should focus on its reliability, industry reputation, unique features, ease of setup and use, and scalability options.
This article will focus on the open-source tools that provide plenty of features and are free to use.
Trivy is an open-source vulnerability scanner that detects CVEs in open-source software. It provides a quick explanation of the risk that lets developers decide whether to use the component in their containers and applications.
While the usual container security protocols use a static image scan to find vulnerabilities, Trivy goes further by seamlessly merging the vulnerability scanning tool into the Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
With the vast open-source community, many integrations and add-ons support Trivy, such as utilizing Helm chart to install Trivy to a Kubernetes cluster and Prometheus exporter to extract vulnerability metrics.
OpenVAS is a comprehensive open-source vulnerability scanner and management system. It’s free, licensed under GNU General Public License (GPL), and supports different operating systems, including multiple Linux distros.
OpenVAS utilizes an automatically updated community-sourced vulnerability database of over 50,000 known Network Vulnerability Tests. This means it looks through the entire system in great detail and tests authenticated and unauthenticated protocols.
The vulnerability tests carried out are incredibly detailed, providing an in-depth analysis of how well guarded the computer and servers are.
OpenVAS can also be operated from an external server, giving you the hacker’s perspective. This lets you identify the exposed services or ports and solve them quickly.
Clair is an API-based vulnerability scanner that lets you check any known security vulnerabilities for each open-source container layer. It makes it simple to create a service that can continuously monitor containers and look for security vulnerabilities.
Clair regularly collects vulnerability metadata from various sources, indexes container images, and provides an API where you can retrieve the features found in the picture. It can also alert you whenever the vulnerability metadata is updated, allowing you to find new vulnerabilities from previously scanned images.
Clair also provides an API that you can use to query vulnerabilities in specific container images.
Wireshark is a free and open-source network vulnerability scanner trusted and used by many governmental and educational institutions. It looks into network vulnerabilities at a microscopic level, ensuring a high level of security for your business.
It captures all network traffic, including Bluetooth, wireless, ethernet, token ring, and frame relay connections, to name a few. After finishing the scan, Wireshark goes offline to analyze the data gathered.
Wireshark runs smoothly on various platforms, including Solaris. The generated analysis report can be converted into simple and plain text, allowing users with no technical background to understand it better.
Anchore is an open-source, Docker container policy compliance and static analysis tool. Upon activation, it automatically performs image scanning, analysis, and evaluation of the container content. The result provides a policy evaluation for each image and determines whether it passes or fails a business’s requirements.
Anchore will start working by analyzing the contents of the container image to discover hidden vulnerabilities. It will also scan for known vulnerabilities and assure that the image follows the best security standards and best industry practices. Most importantly, Anchore integrates with container registry and CI/CD tools.
Sqlmap is a penetration testing tool but has the features to detect and evaluate vulnerabilities automatically. It goes beyond simply finding security weaknesses and attempts to exploit them and create a detailed report on the results.
Sqlmap was developed in Python. Hence it supports any operating system that has a Python interpreter installed. It will automatically recognize password hashes and will exploit SQL injection vulnerabilities using six different methods.
The tool has a comprehensive database that supports Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQL Server, and Access.
Including a vulnerability scanning tool in your business is a necessary thing to do. Not only will it help find any weaknesses and loopholes in your computer and network system, but the tool can also provide you with suitable solutions to solve the issues.
Here are the six best tools to help you:
All that’s left to do now is pick one tool and start scanning your systems for loopholes to prevent hackers or malicious software from entering it.