Top 5 Vulnerability Scanning Tools for Security Teams


Vulnerability scanning tools allow organizations to find and uncover potential weaknesses in their environment.

These tools have changed since their debut about 30 years ago. In the beginning, there were two basic types of vulnerability scanners. One scanned the internal network to find hosts on the network, determine which network ports were open, and potentially “fingerprint” each host by studying its network behavior to identify its operating system and system version. operation. The other type of vulnerability scanner ran on individual hosts, often with local administrator credentials, to get a more complete picture of the software each host was running and the known vulnerabilities in that host. software.

Just as the types of vulnerability scans have expanded and evolved, so has the understanding of what constitutes a vulnerability and the tools needed.

Here are five examples of the best vulnerability scanners to choose from.

1. Nessus

Nessus was created in 1998 by Renaud Deraison, who went on to found Tenable, the cybersecurity company that maintains Nessus to this day. Originally a free vulnerability scanner, it quickly became popular. Today, Nessus Essentials is still free. Tenable also offers Nessus Professional and Nessus Expert, which can find known vulnerable software versions and weak or incorrect security configuration settings on almost any platform, including cloud architectures and many IoT devices.

Nessus is highly adaptable, with over 175,000 plugins available to enhance and customize its capabilities.

Nessus Professional and Expert are available as licenses starting at $3,390 and $7,490 per year, respectively.


Open Vulnerability Assessment Scanner (OpenVAS) is an open source vulnerability scanner supported by vulnerability management company Greenbone Networks and a community of researchers and developers.

OpenVAS started in 2006 based on Nessus code before Nessus transitioned from an open source tool to a commercial tool. OpenVAS offers some of the same scanning and customization capabilities that Nessus products do today to identify vulnerabilities within individual host software.

3. Burp Suite

Burp Suite is a tool from PortSwigger focused on scanning websites and web applications for vulnerabilities. It supports both static and dynamic testing techniques to identify potential vulnerabilities. Just as Nessus and OpenVAS are intended to run automatically frequently or continuously on hosts, Burp Suite is intended to do the same for an organization’s websites and web applications.

Burp Suite Community Edition is a free download. Burp Suite Professional ($449 per user per year) and Enterprise Edition (starting at $8,395 per year) are also available.

4. Snyk

Snyk offers several types of vulnerability scanners for software development and supply chain threats, including:

  • Snyk Open Source checks for software dependencies that have known vulnerabilities.
  • code snyk finds vulnerabilities in source code as it is developed.
  • Cloud Snyk checks cloud environments for vulnerable software components, security misconfigurations, and other issues.

Snyk offers both free and paid product offerings; prices vary depending on the needs of the organization or the developer.

5. Intruder

Intruder is a cloud-based vulnerability scanner, but that doesn’t mean it only scans cloud-based resources. It analyzes networks, servers, endpoints, cloud infrastructures and websites, regardless of their location. Like the other scanners listed, it can find unpatched software, security misconfigurations, and other weaknesses.

Intruder has Pro and Essential offering levels. Pricing is based on the number of targets customers plan to scan.

Deploy vulnerability scanners that cover business needs

Each of these tools differs significantly from the others, but their capabilities also overlap. The overlap is fine – even a plus, in many cases – because two tools are likely to find more vulnerabilities than just one of them. The main concern with vulnerability scanners is having gaps where no scanner checks certain hosts, networks or applications for a type of vulnerability.

Still, it’s not wise to acquire multiple vulnerability scanners that do the same things. Each scanner has an associated commercial cost – at a minimum, for reviewing results and eliminating false positives, as well as training individuals – and commercial scanners incur licensing fees.

It’s best to get a set of vulnerability scanners that collectively provide all the scanning capabilities your business needs without excessive duplication.


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