The responsibilities of IT security teams cover not only the setup of prevention systems to protect their network and assets connected to it, but also to make sure that these systems remain effective over time. After establishing a virtual perimeter fence, it is important to make sure that there are no cracks, holes, or any type of vulnerability. For this checking process, a vulnerability scanner is an effective tool because of several advantages it provides. Most vulnerability scanning tools are easy to use and generate quick results through reports. They can be used to monitor continuously or be performed repeatedly within a time period.
A vulnerability scanner is a helpful tool but should exist with other security tools. To get the most benefit, IT security teams should use it to scan all devices and access points in the network. Scan frequently and document all results. There should also be assigned persons for every network asset who takes accountability of device security, such as regularly patching all discovered vulnerabilities with software updates.
What are vulnerability scanners and their features?
A vulnerability scanner is a software application that searches, identifies, and assess computer hardware, firmware, operating systems, and applications for known weaknesses. Vulnerability scanning software today comes as cloud-based software offered as-a-service that checks vulnerabilities against one or more databases of reported vulnerabilities. Scanners search for network access points and devices and creates an inventory. Next, it identifies each device, retrieving information about its systems and applications. If authenticated scanning is performed, it will use valid credentials to log in and scan more thoroughly. Unauthenticated scanning is usually performed to check externally accessible assets.
After a complete inventory, the vulnerability scanner will check each inventory item against a database of known vulnerabilities and then create a report on its findings. For example, it may discover a laptop running an operating system no longer supported by its developer and would be vulnerable to the latest malware.
Best vulnerability scanners & tools
The best vulnerability scanning tools today have two main features. First, it has the ability to locate and identify devices, open ports, OS, software, and other system information. It also has the ability to correlate collected information with the latest known vulnerabilities from multiple databases bearing vulnerability information. Second is its ability to help IT security teams evaluate vulnerabilities, analyze risks, and prioritize action items. Here is a list of top scanners based on multiple reviews, features, customer feedback, and company ranking to help you find the right vulnerability scanner for your security needs.
Burp Suite’s Burp Scanner from PortSwigger finds a wide range of vulnerabilities in web applications using dependable research. It has a powerful crawl engine and an embedded Chromium browser that can crawl through different types of web apps. The advanced algorithm handles dynamic content, unstable internet connection, and a vast scale of web apps to successfully uncover more attack surfaces. It receives regular updates and can expose a long list of existing vulnerabilities in web applications.
Nessus is a vulnerability scanning software from Tenable. It is an easy-to-use, simple, and intuitive application so users spend less time and effort assessing, prioritizing, and remediating issues. Features include pre-built policies and templates for auditing and patching a wide range of IT and mobile assets, customizable reporting with views for specific vulnerabilities, automatic offline vulnerability assessment, and grouped views.
Rapid7 offers insightVM, a top rated vulnerability scanner that enables you to automatically assess and understand risk across your network. It can assess physical, cloud, and virtual infrastructures to make sure they are configured securely. Other features include a lightweight endpoint agent that can push data without stressing network bandwidth, live and interactive dashboards, real risk scoring for practical prioritization, and solution-based remediation projects.
Acunetix Vulnerability Scanner
Acunetix Vulnerability Scanner is a complete security testing solution for web applications. It has built-in vulnerability assessment and management that can be used in standalone or complex environments. Features include automation and integration with other tools such as Jenkins, Jira, GitHub, and others. Written in C++, it is among the fastest web security tools with low false-positive rate. Multiple scanning engines can be deployed locally.
SolarWinds MSP offers Risk Intelligence software that includes several security features including vulnerability scanning. It enables you to locate security holes in your systems with its scans for unsecured data and any other potential vulnerabilities. Features include host-based scanning to run checks across devices in the network, local lightweight scans that avoid drains in network resources, CVSS database to uncover the latest threats, and cross-device search across networks, servers, applications, and mobile devices.
Comodo cWatch is a website security and malware removal service that includes vulnerability assessment. It is a managed security service specifically for websites and web applications. cWatch provides vulnerability scanning for online merchants, businesses, and other service providers dealing with the use of credit cards online. Together with other tools such as SIEM and web application firewall, it processes information, eliminates application vulnerabilities, and protects web apps and websites from different types of attacks.
Alibaba Cloud Security Scanner
Alibaba Cloud Security Scanner is a SaaS-based vulnerability and threat detection service for websites. It is an all-in-one security solution for domains and other online assets. The vulnerability scanning service utilizes data, penetration testing, and machine learning to detect web vulnerabilities, illicit content, website defacement, and backdoors to prevent brand reputation damage and financial loss. Perform unlimited scanning without installation, upgrades, or maintenance.
QRadar Vulnerability Manager is a vulnerability scanner that correlates vulnerability data with network topology and connection data. It manages risks with a policy engine that automates compliance checks. Integrated with advanced analytics, it helps in security breach prevention, remediation, mitigation activity prioritization, and regulatory compliance automation with a single, consolidated view of vulnerabilities.
Amazon Inspector is an automated security assessment service for applications deployed on AWS. It automatically assesses applications for exposure, vulnerabilities, and deviations from best practices. After an assessment, a detailed list of security findings is generated prioritized by severity level. These security assessments help check for unintended network accessibility and for vulnerabilities. It identifies security vulnerabilities and deviations from best practices in applications before they are deployed and while they are running in production.
AT&T Cybersecurity offers AlienVault Unified Security Management (USM) that delivers vulnerability management solutions for the network and public cloud infrastructure. It is an all-in-one system that includes vulnerability assessment tools, asset discovery, SIEM, behavioral monitoring, and intrusion detection. Features include asset discovery and inventory tools, scheduled scans, and built-in intrusion detection tools. Vulnerability signature updates are delivered continually as new vulnerabilities are identified by AlienVault Labs and Open Threat Exchange intelligence community.