6 Free Network Vulnerability Scanners

To automate the detection and remediation of vulnerabilities 6 tools can be used

Basically, we know about the security measures and follow them on our own during installing and managing our network and websites, but we may not always able to check and catch all vulnerabilities.

So, the Vulnerability scanners can aid us to automate security auditing and it plays important part in IT security. It scans network and websites up to 1000 of various security risks and it produces a prioritized list that we should patch. It also describes vulnerabilities and steps to remediate those vulnerabilities.


 The Open Vulnerability Assessment System (OpenVAS) is a free network security scanner platform, with furthermost mechanisms licensed under the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). The main element is available through quite a lot of Linux packages or as a downloadable Virtual Appliance for testing/evaluation objects. This scanner doesn’t work on Windows machines but it offers clients for Windows.

The main element of the OpenVAS is the security scanner, that only can run in Linux. More than 33,000 as total, the OpenVAS performs real scanning work and obtains feed updated every day of Network Vulnerability Tests (NVT)

The OpenVAS Manager controls the scanner and provides the intellect. The OpenVAS Administrator offers a command-line interface, and act as full-service inspiration, offering user management and feed management.

There are a pair of clients to serve as the GUI or CLI. The Greenbone Security Desktop (GSD) is a Qt-based desktop client that runs on various OSs, together with Linux and Windows and the OpenVAS CLI gives a command-line interface. The Greenbone Security Assistant (GSA) provides a web-based GUI.

OpenVAS is can obtained for free, and utmost feature-rich, a broad IT security scanner, but it isn’t easy and fastest scanner to install and practice.  It also provides note and false positive management of the scan results. It needs Linux at least for the main component. It scans for above 1000 vulnerabilities, supports concurrent scan tasks, and scheduled scans.

Retina CS Community

Retina CS Community affords vulnerability scanning and covering for Microsoft and common 3rd-party applications, like Adobe and Firefox, for up to 256 IPs free. Plus, it assists vulnerabilities within mobile devices, web applications, virtualized applications, servers, and private clouds. It checks for network vulnerabilities, configuration issues, and misplaced patches.

The Retina CS Community software essentially make available simply the patching functionality. Retina Network Community is the software that offers the vulnerability scanning. It should be installed separately before the Retina CS Community software.

Retina CS Community installs on Windows Server 2008 or later, requires the .Net Framework 3.5 to be installed, IIS server enabled, and Microsoft SQL 2008 or later to be installed. Be aware that the installation on Domain Controllers or Small Business Servers is not supported.

Once the software is installed, you’re given with a GUI program for Retina Network Community component and a web-based GUI for the Retina CS Community component. It assists variant user profiles. Then you can line up the valuation to your job function.

To scan you can choose from a diversity of scan and report templates and specify IP range to scan or use the smart selection function. You can provide any essential credentials for scanned assets that require them and choose how you want the report delivered, as well as email delivery or alerts.

Retina CS Community is a free offering by a commercial seller, offering scanning and patching for up to 256 IPs free and assisting a variation of assets. Though, some small businesses may find the system requirements too strict, as it wants a Windows Server.

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA)

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) can achieve local or remote scans on Windows desktops and servers, recognizing any lost service packs, security patches, and common security misconfigurations. The 2.3 release enhances assist for Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2012, while also aiding earlier versions down to Windows XP.

MBSA is quite frank to realize and use. When you open it, you can hand-pick a single Windows machine to scan by selecting a computer name from the list or specifying an IP address or when scanning multiple machines, you can pick an entire domain or specify an IP address range. You can then select what you want to scan for, together with Windows, IIS and SQL administrative susceptibilities, weak passwords, and Windows updates.

Once the scan is finished, you’ll discover a distinct report for each Windows machine scanned with a complete security classification and categorized particulars of the results. For each element you can click a link to read facts on what was scanned and how to correct it, if a susceptibility were identified, and for some you can click to see additional outcome details. The reports are automatically saved for future reference, but you can also print and/or copy the report to the clipboard.

Though free and user-friendly, be aware that MBSA absences scanning of advanced Windows settings, drivers, non-Microsoft software, and network-specific susceptibilities. However, it’s a good tool to support you find and curtail general security risks.

Nexpose Community Edition

Nexpose Community Edition can scan networks, operating systems, web applications, databases, and virtual environments. The Community Edition, though, restricts you to scanning up to 32 IPs at a time. It’s also restricted to one-year of use till you should apply for a new license. They also provide a 7-day free experimental of their commercial editions.

Nexpose installs on Windows, Linux, or virtual machines and affords a web-based GUI. From the web portal you can produce sites to describe the IPs or URLs you’d like to scan, choose the scanning preferences, scanning schedule, and afford any required credentials for scanned assets.

Once a site is scanned, you’ll see a list of resources and susceptibilities. You can see asset facts with OS and software info and details on susceptibilities and how to fix them. You get an option to set procedures to describe and track your wanted compliance standards. You can also create and transfer reports on a different of features.

Nexpose Community Edition is a compact full-featured susceptibility scanner. It is simple to setup but the 32 IP limit may make it unrealistic for bigger networks.


SecureCheq can achieve local scans on Windows desktops and servers, recognizing numerous unconfident advanced Windows settings like well-defined by CIS, ISO or COBIT standards. It focusses on common configuration errors associated to OS hardening, data protection, communication security, user account activity and audit logging. The free version, still it is restricted to scanning less than two dozen settings, about a sector of what the full version supports.

SecureCheq is a simple tool. After scanning the PC you’ll see a list of all the patterned settings and a Passed or Failed result.

Click a setting and you’ll discover links to references about the susceptibility, summary of the susceptibility, and how to fix it. However you can’t save the outcomes for later viewing in the application, you can print them or view/save the OVAL XML file.

Even though SecureCheq is easier to use and scans for advanced configuration settings, actually there are some mises of the more general Windows susceptibilities and network-based threats. Though, its accompaniments the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) well; scan for fundamental threats and then follow up with SecureCheq for advanced susceptibilities.

Qualys FreeScan

Qualys FreeScan delivers up to 10 free scans of URLs or IPs of Internet facing or local servers or machines. You originally access it thru their web portal and then download their virtual machine software if running scans on your internal network.

Qualys FreeScan aids a few variant scan types; susceptibility checks for unseen malware, SSL issues, and other network-related susceptibilities. OWASP is for checking vulnerabilities of web applications. Patch Tuesday scans for and helps install misplaced software patches. SCAP checks computer settings submission against the SCAP (Security Content Automation Protocol) benchmark offered by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

However, you first see just an online tool that looks to just do scanning through the Internet, if you enter a local IP or scan, it will lead you to download a virtual scanner through a VMware or VirtualBox image. This permits you to do scanning of your local network. Once a scan is finished you can see communicating reports by threat or by patch.

Meanwhile Qualys FreeScan only affords 10 free scans, it’s not something you can use frequently. Remember using other solution for day-to-day use and occasionally run Qualys FreeScan for a verification.