When it comes to performing vulnerability assessments, Nessus is by far the industry leader. Nessus is known as “world’s best vulnerability management tool” and I think the reason for this is because of the continuous research the Nessus team does around new vulnerabilities and push them out to their customers in a timely manner. If you are not families with Nessus here is a very high-level overview – Nessus uses “plugins” which simply put are scripts that run on the target hosts to see if it meets the criteria for a certain vulnerability. And as new plugins get pushed to customers the old plugins also get updated daily.
I have been using Nessus for some time now and I have been very pleased with their level of commitment and excellent support. And recently as I was going through their blogs, I came across an interesting post regarding finding malware through Nessus scans. I found this interesting for two reasons: first, because I had not tried this before and second because as a security professional its better if you find evil in your environment before it gets reported to you.
The process for running malware scan is same as running the normal vulnerability scan. You just need to make sure that you select the appropriate plugins in your scan policy and use credentials that have administrative privileges on the target system. The following blog post lists the default plugin you can use to get started with malware scans – a sample scan policy is available for you to download which you can simply upload in your scanner and run the scan. This blog post also contains links to other related posts that talk about additional plugins that you can enable in your scan policy.
I have not had the chance to run this scan however, I plan to give this a try this coming week using the sample scan policy. I will write a follow-up post to share my experience.