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PCI Configuration Audits with Nessus

Tenable's Research group has produced two Nessus PCI configuration .audit files for both the Windows and Linux operating systems. These configuration checks are derived from specific recommendations and audit requirements based on the PCI 1.1 standard.

These checks go above and beyond the PCI requirements of performing vulnerability and patch auditing and makes it very easy to audit and analyze system configurations against specific PCI items. These new audits also makes it easy to perform a single scan of one or more PCI hosts and accomplish a vulnerability, patch and configuration audit.

For the Windows PCI policy, configuration audits are available to ensure that a host firewall is enabled, that unnecessary services are disabled, that the system is secured to prevent or log abuse and that user account security is sufficient. For the Linux PCI policy, similar audits are performed to limit abuse, to audit new accounts and to ensure that logging is enabled. Each audit file includes the ID of the corresponding PCI DSS Security Audit Procedures document.

Compared to the certified Center for Internet Security .audit policies for Windows and Red Hat available, these .audit files are not as in-depth or comprehensive. However, if you are a PCI auditor or want to see how your systems would do before an official audit, these checks can produce content required to show compliance with a wide variety of sections of the PCI 1.1 standard.

To obtain these .audit files, Direct Feed or Security Center users should log onto the Tenable Support Portal, click on the 'Download' button and then the 'Download Configuration Audit Policies' button. Both polices are available for download under the 'PCI' section.

To install these on the Security Center, copy them to the /opt/sc3/admin/nasl directory. They will then be available as a .audit policy that can be included within a Security Center vulnerability scan policy. A demonstration video of using the Security Center to audit a Windows 2003 server is available here.

Nessus 3 Direct Feed users should save these .audit files to their laptop or server which runs their Nessus client and then create a scan policy which includes the desired .audit file as a configuration audit. A demonstration video of performing a configuration audit of a Windows 2003 server is available here.

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