Nessus (software)

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Screenshot of the 'Nessus "NG" report'
Screenshot of the 'Nessus "NG" report'
Basic data

developer Tenable network security
Current  version 8.4.0
( May 14, 2019 )
operating system Linux , FreeBSD , Windows XP , Solaris , macOS
category Vulnerability Scanner
License Proprietary (before version 3: GPL )
German speaking No

Nessus is a network and vulnerability scanner for Linux , Unix , Windows and macOS . It is based on the client-server principle , which means that the Nessus server ( nessusd ) is started on a computer and can be used to connect to one or more clients from a local or remote computer. This is secured by SSL certificates and passwords.

When starting the server are plug-ins loaded. This enables various security gaps in the operating system or the services running on the host to be scanned to be found. Plug-ins are created in Nessus' own scripting language "Nessus Attack Scripting Language" (NASL).

With the client program you connect to the server and set up a session in which you can enter or change the target computer and plug-ins, among other things. Once the scan has been carried out, the Nessus client gives an overview of open ports (Nessus scans the ports with the help of nmap ) and any security holes found.


The project , which was previously under the GPL , has been offered with a proprietary license since October 2005 . Therefore, the OpenVAS project continues the development of a free scanner since the last free version (2.2).

The Federal Office for Information Security had the open source software BOSS ( BSI OSS Security Suite ) developed, which was based on Nessus, but discontinued this and recommended OpenVAS .

A free version called "Nessus Essentials" has also been allowed to be used commercially for vulnerability analysis since 2019.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. New version of the BOSS security CD on the BSI website; Retrieved September 3, 2015