Low-cost security tool

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One low-cost way to improve the security of a network is to scan all of the servers

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and workstations on the network for known vulnerabilities, then apply vendor-supplied patches appropriately. A lot of attention is given to perimeter security and not enough to internal security.

One such tool to do the scanning is an open-source scanner called Nessus. It runs well on Linux and can generate HTML-formatted reports for your entire network, along with suggested fixes for each vulnerability that it finds. It scans for thousands of known vulnerabilities in all common operation systems and applications, such as all versions of Windows, IIS, Solaris, Linux and even MacOS X.

The Nessus software is free. So is Linux. Even a novice Linux user can set-up a low-end PC with Red Hat Linux with it's easy to use graphical installer. Then download the Nessus installer RPM.

Configure the scanner per the instructions on the nessus.org page, and start scanning. You can scan a whole subnet at once.

This was first published in January 2002

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