Facebook Google Plus Twitter LinkedIn YouTube RSS Menu Search Resource - BlogResource - WebinarResource - ReportResource - Eventicons_066 icons_067icons_068icons_069icons_070

Tenable Blog

Subscribe

Detecting Known Malware Processes Using Nessus

Keeping Malware in Check

A limitation of anti-virus (AV) agents is they often do not evaluate the entire known malware sample found running on a system. Polymorphic and mutating viruses make it possible for one AV vendor to detect a malicious sample and another to completely miss it. It's not feasible to run every AV program available on the market today in your network to make up for gaps in coverage. Nessus already helps you with malware detection, for example:

Tenable's research team recently added new functionality to Nessus which will detect known malware running on your Windows scan targets. Below is an overview of how this new feature works:

  1. Nessus authenticates to the Windows system.
  2. Nessus enumerates the list of running processes on the system.
  3. For each process, a cryptographic hash is generated and looked up against Tenable's cloud-based database
  4. If the process is found to be malicious, the plugin logs the results with information about the malware found.

You can watch a short video on how to configure and run this plugin below:

Plugin Output & Reference Web Pages

If you are already running credentialed scans against Windows targets, ensure that plugin #59275 "Malicious Process Detection" is enabled. The results will appear with a "High" severity rating as follows:

Malwareplugin sm


Click for larger image

You will notice several interesting things in the above plugin output. First, the MD5 checksum of the malicious process is listed as matching known malware. The file path on the system where the malware resides is listed next, along with the Process ID (PID) of the process when the scanned was performed. An abbreviated list of AV products that consider the file identified to be malware comes next, including a report of how many AV vendors in total believed it was malware and the total number of sources.

A URL is provided to learn more about the malware identified. If you visit the URL in the plugin output, you will see something similar to the page below:

Mwreport sm


Click for larger image


For this example, I've used WinArpAttacker to trigger the malicious process detection (to avoid having to infect my systems with "real" malware). The above report provides some useful information, including how often this malware is detected (84% in the case of WinArpAttacker) and a list of each AV vendor's name for it (Example, and my favorite, Sunbelt calls it "HackTool.Win32.ArpAttacker.3020 (not malicious)").

Requirements

In order for the Malicious Process Detection plugin to run properly, the following requirements must be met:

  • Credentials for scanning a Windows target with Nessus
  • The ability for the Nessus scanner to perform DNS lookups to the Internet

Conclusion

It should be noted that this plugin is not a replacement for AV software. Nessus only checks the running processes at the time of the scan, whereas an AV product can detect file system writes and executions, plus attempt to prevent infection in near real time. However, this new functionality in Nessus adds the ability to check your systems running processes against 25 AV products, without having to run them all on your network and systems.

Related Articles

Are You Vulnerable to the Latest Exploits?

Enter your email to receive the latest cyber exposure alerts in your inbox.

tenable.io

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy.

tenable.io BUY

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy. Purchase your annual subscription today.

65 assets

Choose Your Subscription Option:

Buy Now

Try Nessus Professional Free

FREE FOR 7 DAYS

Nessus® is the most comprehensive vulnerability scanner on the market today. Nessus Professional will help automate the vulnerability scanning process, save time in your compliance cycles and allow you to engage your IT team.

Buy Nessus Professional

Nessus® is the most comprehensive vulnerability scanner on the market today. Nessus Professional will help automate the vulnerability scanning process, save time in your compliance cycles and allow you to engage your IT team.

Buy a multi-year license and save. Add Advanced Support for access to phone, community and chat support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Select Your License

Buy a multi-year license and save.

Add Support and Training

Tenable.io

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy.

Tenable.io BUY

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy. Purchase your annual subscription today.

65 assets

Choose Your Subscription Option:

Buy Now

Try Tenable.io Web Application Scanning

Enjoy full access to our latest web application scanning offering designed for modern applications as part of the Tenable.io platform. Safely scan your entire online portfolio for vulnerabilities with a high degree of accuracy without heavy manual effort or disruption to critical web applications. Sign up now.

Buy Tenable.io Web Application Scanning

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy. Purchase your annual subscription today.

5 FQDNs

$3,578

Buy Now

Try Tenable.io Container Security

Enjoy full access to the only container security offering integrated into a vulnerability management platform. Monitor container images for vulnerabilities, malware and policy violations. Integrate with continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) systems to support DevOps practices, strengthen security and support enterprise policy compliance.

Buy Tenable.io Container Security

Tenable.io Container Security seamlessly and securely enables DevOps processes by providing visibility into the security of container images – including vulnerabilities, malware and policy violations – through integration with the build process.

Try Tenable Lumin

Visualize and explore your Cyber Exposure, track risk reduction over time and benchmark against your peers with Tenable Lumin.

Buy Tenable Lumin

Contact a Sales Representative to see how Lumin can help you gain insight across your entire organization and manage cyber risk.

Try Tenable.cs

Enjoy full access to detect and fix cloud infrastructure misconfigurations and view runtime vulnerabilities. Sign up for your free trial now.

Contact a Sales Rep to Buy Tenable.cs

Contact a Sales Representative to learn more about Tenable.cs Cloud Security and see how easy it is to onboard your cloud accounts and get visibility into both cloud misconfigurations and vulnerabilities within minutes.

Try Nessus Expert Free

FREE FOR 7 DAYS

Built for the modern attack surface, Nessus Expert enables you to see more and protect your organization from vulnerabilities from IT to the cloud.

Already have Nessus Professional?
Upgrade to Nessus Expert free for 7 days.

Buy Nessus Expert

Built for the modern attack surface, Nessus Expert enables you to see more and protect your organization from vulnerabilities from IT to the cloud.

Select Your License

Buy a multi-year license and save.

Add Support