Installing and Using Nessus on Kali Linux

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If you are using Nessus for vulnerability scanning activities, consider installing Nessus on Kali Linux. Kali Linux is a fantastic distribution specifically designed for penetration testing.

Nessus, Kali, and Penetration Testing

Tenable provides Nessus on a wide variety of platforms to choose from. One of those choices is a Linux distribution designed for penetration testers called Kali Linux. Kali Linux, formerly known as "Backtrack", is a Debian-based Linux distribution containing hundreds of tools to perform penetration tests.

The tools available in Kali Linux complement a Nessus installation, allowing everything to be in one place, easing maintenance and portability. Nessus reports on host discovery, vulnerability identification, and exploitability of a given vulnerability which are all important findings in the penetration testing process.

Nessus also has many other features to support penetration testing activities that you may not be aware of. These include:

Installing and Configuring Nessus

Nessus does not come pre-installed on Kali Linux, but can be installed and activated easily:

Please refer to the Nessus 5.2 Installation and Configuration Guide for answers to common installation questions and more information about installing and configuring Nessus.


Nessus is the most trusted, accurate, and reliable vulnerability scanner on the market, making it a perfect complement to your penetration tests and security assessments. Nessus Manager (and Nessus Cloud) allows you to further extend your vulnerability scanning program by engaging others in IT and auditing through sharing of scanning resources (including assigning roles, scanners, reports, policies, and more). Tenable's other products, such as the Passive Vulnerability Scanner and SecurityCenter Continuous View, enable IT organizations to implement a continuous monitoring solution to collect vulnerability and operational data via scanning, sniffing and logging. All of these technologies combined allow for deep insights into your network, and any threats that may be lurking.

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