Best Vulnerability Scanner Tools for 2021
Vulnerability scanning, assessment, and management all share a fundamental cybersecurity principle: the bad guys can’t get in if they don’t have away. To that end, an essential IT security practice is to scan for vulnerabilities and then patch them, typically via a patch management system.
Vulnerability scanners can simplify the process by finding and patching vulnerabilities for users, which reduces the burden on security personnel and operations centers. Vulnerability scanners can detect system vulnerabilities and help prioritize fixes. They also predict the effectiveness and cost of countermeasures. The IT department, or a service provider, can perform scans. The scan typically compares the details about the target attack surface with a database that contains information about known security gaps in services and ports as well as anomalies and packet construction and possible exploitable programs and scripts.
While some scans can be done by signing in as an authorized user, others are externally performed and aim to identify holes that could be exploited by outsiders. Vulnerability scanning should not be confused with penetration testing, which is about exploiting vulnerabilities rather than indicating where potential vulnerabilities may lie. Vulnerability management is a broader product that incorporates vulnerability scanning capabilities, and a complementary technology is breach and attack simulation, which allows for continuous automated vulnerability assessment.
The best vulnerability scanning tools
Qualys Vulnerability Management
Qualys Vulnerability Management scans complex networks behind firewalls. It can scan cloud environments, detect vulnerabilities in geographically dispersed networks, and can scan for vulnerabilities. It also scans containers, endpoints, and other devices.
The intuitive, customizable dashboard gives you a single view of all assets and web apps being monitored. Although the price may be more expensive than other services, the protection offered is vast.
AT&T Cybersecurity Vulnerability Scanner Solution is available as either a managed service or can be run within IT. It detects security flaws in web applications, network devices, and systems.
The vulnerability scanner is part of a larger tool, which also includes SIEM (intrusion detection) and intrusion detection. As new vulnerabilities are discovered by AlienVault Labs or Open Threat Exchange intelligence, the vulnerability signatures are constantly updated.
This managed service is best for IT departments without cybersecurity expertise.
Tenable Nessus is a widely used, open-source vulnerability assessment tool. Because the interface is difficult to learn, it’s best for experienced security personnel. It can be used with penetration testing tools to provide them with potential vulnerabilities to exploit and areas to target.
Nessus includes pre-built policies and templates to audit and patch a variety of IT and mobile assets. You can also create customizable reports and perform an offline vulnerability assessment.
Alibaba Cloud Managed Security Service
Alibaba offers a SaaS-based managed service that allows for port inspection and scans for system and web vulnerability. This service uses machine learning to identify web vulnerabilities and backdoors. It also detects illicit content and website defacement to protect reputation.
Alibaba simplifies the process by performing unlimited scans, without the need for any installation, maintenance, or updates. This tool is designed for cloud-based businesses and is likely to be the best in the face of ongoing trade disputes between the U.S.A. and China.
Netsparker excels at scanning websites. It is not intended to scan other websites and therefore does not offer the same range of products. Its ease of use is a plus. The automated web application security scanning capabilities of the tool can be integrated with third-party tools.
Operators do not need to know the source code. This is a great choice for small and medium businesses, rather than large corporations.
Amazon Inspector is an automated security assessment service that you can use if you’re an AWS shop. It scans all AWS applications and can also be extended to Amazon EC2 instances.
It provides detailed information about potential vulnerabilities and prioritizes them according to their severity. It can also detect a lack in security practices for applications, both before and during their deployment.
Amazon Inspector cannot scan Azure, Google Cloud, on-premises data centers, or server rooms. It is therefore recommended only for SMBs and enterprises that rely primarily on Amazon Cloud.
Burp Suite is a web vulnerability scanner used in a great many organizations. There is a free version, but it has limited functionality and no automation capabilities. If you want to have the full package for enterprise-wide automation and scalability, be prepared for a steep price. The Professional version is for security professionals who only require an automated vulnerability scanner to test code. It’s cheaper.
Burp also includes a power crawler engine that can crawl web applications and identify vulnerabilities. To better identify attack areas, it uses an advanced algorithm to scan dynamic content.
Acunetix Vulnerability Scanner
Acunetix scans only web-based applications. Its multi-threaded scanner is capable of crawling through hundreds of thousands of pages quickly and can also identify common issues with web server configurations. It excels at scanning WordPress. It is recommended for those who have a large WordPress deployment.
Acunetix Vulnerability Scanner includes integrations with other useful tools such as Jira, Jenkins, and GitHub. It boasts a remarkably low false-positive rate.
Intruder, a cloud-based proactive vulnerability scanner, focuses on perimeter scanning. It cannot scan deeper into an enterprise without additional tools. It is capable of discovering new vulnerabilities. It’s an excellent choice for anyone looking to strengthen the perimeter.
It contains more than 10,000 security checks, including SQL Injection, WannaCry, and Heartbleed.
Metasploit covers the scanning and testing of vulnerabilities. It is supported by an extensive open-source database that contains known exploits. IT can also access the pen testing results to assist in remediation. It is not scalable to enterprise-level and some users find it difficult to use.
Nmap is a port scanner that also aids pen testing by flagging the best areas to target in an attack. This is helpful for ethical hackers to identify network weaknesses. It’s open-source, so it’s free. This makes it useful for people who are familiar with open source but may prove difficult for someone new to these applications. It runs on all major OSes but Linux users will be more familiar with it.
IBM Security QRadar
QRadar is an excellent example of the reputation that IBM Security has earned us as a leading cybersecurity provider. After scanning a network and correlating the information with network topology and connection data, it manages risk using a policy engine with automated compliance checks.
Advanced analytics make it a powerful tool to prevent security breaches, prioritize and perform remediation, and maintain regulatory compliance. The dashboard is intuitive and consolidates all this information in one view.
Rapid7 Nexpose, an open-source vulnerability scanning tool, is highly rated. It can automatically scan and assess virtual, cloud, and physical infrastructures. It provides interactive dashboards and solution-based remediation, risk scoring, prioritization, and priority.
Nexpose scans every device connected to the network and detects vulnerabilities in real-time. It can also be used as an endpoint agent to process information with minimal bandwidth.
What are vulnerability scanners?
Vulnerability scanners scan networks and assess network resources for known vulnerabilities. These scanners identify and inventory all network access points and connected devices and then compare the results to known vulnerabilities in a database. These tools can also detect anomalies in packet structure and paths that could be exploitable scripts or programs.
The key features of vulnerability scanners
Two primary categories of key vulnerabilities scanning software features can be broken down: identification and correlation as well as evaluation.
Identification and Correlation
Vulnerability scanners detect and classify all devices, open ports, operating systems, and software that are connected to a network. Then, they correlate this information with known vulnerabilities. They can detect misconfigurations as well as lack security policies and controls.
These tools can identify vulnerabilities and then evaluate and assess each individual’s risk. These tools can also do root cause analysis to determine the source of the problem. This information helps to determine which vulnerabilities should be prioritized.
Scanners for vulnerability both internal and external
External scans are performed from outside of the network perimeter to find vulnerabilities in servers and applications accessible via the internet. On the other hand, internal scans identify vulnerabilities that could enable attackers to move laterally through a network.
Non-authenticated scanning vs authenticated scanning
Authenticated scans can only be performed by authenticated users who have valid login credentials. These scans are usually more thorough than those that are not authenticated. These scans can identify insecure registry entries, poor configurations, and malicious code and plugs.
Non-authenticated scans don’t require login credentials. They are a superficial scan. They can identify backdoors, invalid certificates, unpatched programs, weak passwords, and poor encryption protocols.
Vulnerability scanning vs penetration testing
Although vulnerability scanning and penetration testing serve the same purpose, they use different methods. Penetration testing can be used to exploit vulnerabilities. Before penetration testing can be performed, scanning is used to determine potential vulnerabilities.
How to choose a vulnerability scanning tool
There are two important things to remember when searching for vulnerability scanning tools:
- You must ensure that your compliance committee can establish rules-based upon regulations and standards applicable to your company.
- Choose a tool that provides an intuitive dashboard to clearly show risk scores and report information.
- This will help you prioritize your patching efforts. Look for one that scans your most important defenses and systems.