Nessus is a nice tool, but some people have complained and revolted against it because it went closed source in version 3.0. I’m sure there were good reasons for that, but if – for whatever reason – you don’t want to use Nessus, what can you use? Enter OpenVAS.

I’ve mentioned OpenVAS before, but version 3.0.0 came out in December, so I figured I’d give more details on it.

It’s a fork of Nessus 2.0, so if you used Nessus while it was still open source, it’ll be somewhat familiar to you. It still uses NASL for tests, so you can use some of those ancient vulnerability tests if you need to. It also has the same basic client/server architecture. You put the “server” on the network segment(s) you want to scan, and you can have the client pretty much anywhere that can talk to the server.

There is an “official” OpenVAS feed, but you can subscribe to any feed you want – including the Nessus feeds.

If you’re not used to working “under the hood”, then OpenVAS will seem like a huge change for you, but if you used nessus previously, you’ll just have to remember a few of the old things on the command line.

I haven’t used it on an assessment (yet), since we have a Nessus professional feed, but I’ve used it at home and have found it quite nice to use and might consider starting to use it for assessments.