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Nessus Scan Summary Report

by Steve Tilson
April 6, 2017

Many organizations are focused on metrics and need to know how efficiently Nessus software is performing. Management may want a comprehensive overview of active scanning, presented in a formal report. This report can help analysts and management by presenting an overview of active scans and detailed information on scan performance.

Using SecurityCenter to track the performance and efficiency of vulnerability scanning helps the organization better understand deficiencies within their vulnerability management program. The best practices suggest scanning the organization's network on a daily and weekly basis to obtain more complete coverage. To gain the most accurate coverage, scanners can be deployed throughout a network for a wide range of unique environment setups. However, when securing an environment, obtaining the most accurate and complete data relies on how a scan is configured. There are many options for fine tuning scans to gather complete and accurate data as well as increase scanner performance. The Nessus vulnerability scanner is a fast and diverse tool that helps organizations of all sizes to audit their assets for security vulnerabilities. Nessus features high-speed discovery, configuration auditing, asset profiling, sensitive data discovery, and vulnerability analysis of an organization's security posture.

The elements in this report provide detailed data for analysts to measure and track the accuracy and performance of Nessus scans. Determining if all host are being targeted consistently and how they are being scanned delivers a high-level view for analysts to evaluate current scanning configurations. Providing consistent scanning results is essential in evaluating accurate vulnerability management.  With the information provided in this report, Nessus scans can be further customized and fine-tuned by analysts to enable more complete and accurate reporting. 

This report is available in the SecurityCenter Feed, a comprehensive collection of dashboards, reports, Assurance Report Cards, and assets. The report can be easily located in the SecurityCenter Feed under the category Discovery & Detection. The report requirements are:

  • SecurityCenter 5.4.2
  • Nessus 6.10.1

Tenable SecurityCenter provides continuous network monitoring, vulnerability identification, and security monitoring. SecurityCenter is continuously updated with information about advanced threats and zero-day vulnerabilities and new types of regulatory compliance configuration audit files. Tenable constantly analyzes information from our unique sensors, delivering continuous visibility and critical context, enabling decisive action that transforms a security program from reactive to proactive. Active scanning periodically examines the applications on systems, running processes and services, detections of web applications, configuration settings, and additional vulnerabilities. Agent scanning enables scanning and detection of vulnerabilities on transient and isolated devices. With this information, analysts have greater insight to determine if applications, services, and web applications operating within the organization are supported and up to date. Tenable enables powerful, yet non-disruptive, continuous monitoring of the organization to ensure vulnerability information is available to analysts.

This report contains the following chapters:

Executive Summary: This chapter presents an executive overview of the Nessus scanners in the environment. The chapter focuses on how fast the scanners perform their job, what versions of scanners are used, and what network ranges are being scanned.

Nessus Scan Option Summary: Many organizations are focused on metrics and need to know how efficiently software is performing.  This chapter can help analysts and management by presenting an overview of Nessus scanner options.

Nessus Network Scan Summary: Analysts need to know if scans are reaching all targets for accurate reporting. This chapter focuses on how often hosts are being scanned. This information helps analysts adjust scans for complete coverage and maintain up to date reports.

Nessus Scanner Errors: Changes made to environments can cause unexpected results to Nessus scans. Those changes may result in issues on the network, on systems, or even in Nessus that prevents successful scans and results in incomplete information. The "Nessus Scanner Errors" table displays hosts on which Nessus encountered a scan error while scanning the host. The table is uses plugin 19506 and filters on vulnerability text containing “error”. This table will display the IP Address, MAC Address, DNS name, NetBIOS name, and Last Observed columns for each host with a Nessus scan error. This information can be used by analysts to investigate incomplete reports due to these errors.


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