Vulnerability Scanning, Tools, and Countermeasures

Vulnerability scanning tools allow for the detection of vulnerabilities in applications using many ways. Code analysis vulnerability tools analyze coding bugs. Audit vulnerability tools can find well-known rootkits, backdoor, and trojans.

There are many vulnerability scanners available in the market. They can be free, paid, or open-source. Most of the free and open-source tools are available on GitHub. Deciding which tool to use depends on a few factors such as vulnerability type, budget, frequency of how often the tool is updated, etc.

1. Nikto2 


Nikto2 is an open-source vulnerability scanning software that focuses on web application security. Nikto2 can find around 6700 dangerous files causing issues to web servers and report outdated servers based versions. On top of that, Nikto2 can alert on server configuration issues and perform web server scans within a minimal time.
Nikto2 doesn’t offer any countermeasures for vulnerabilities found nor provide risk assessment features. However, Nikto2 is a frequently updated tool that enables a broader coverage of vulnerabilities.

2. Netsparker


Netsparker is another web application vulnerability tool with an automation feature available to find vulnerabilities. This tool is also capable of finding vulnerabilities in thousands of web applications within a few hours.
It provides a lot of cutting-edge features despite being a premium enterprise-level vulnerability tool. It has crawling technology that scans an application for vulnerabilities. For discovered vulnerabilities, Netsparker may outline and provide mitigation methods. Additionally, advanced vulnerability assessment security solutions are readily available.

3. OpenVAS


OpenVAS is a powerful vulnerability scanning tool that supports large-scale scans which are suitable for organizations. You can use this tool for finding vulnerabilities not only in the web application or web servers but also in databases, operating systems, networks, and virtual machines.
OpenVAS receives updates daily, which broadens the vulnerability detection coverage. It also helps in risk assessment and suggests countermeasures for the vulnerabilities detected.

4. W3AF


W3AF is a  free and open-source tool known as Web Application Attack and Framework. This tool is an open-source vulnerability scanning tool for web applications. It creates a framework which helps to secure the web application by finding and exploiting the vulnerabilities. This tool is known for user-friendliness. Along with vulnerability scanning options, W3AF has exploitation facilities used for penetration testing work as well.
Moreover, W3AF covers a high-broaden collection of vulnerabilities. Domains that are attacked frequently, especially with newly identified vulnerabilities, can select this tool.

5. Arachni


Arachni is also a dedicated vulnerability tool for web applications. This tool covers a variety of vulnerabilities and is updated regularly. Arachni provides facilities for risk assessment as well as suggests tips and countermeasures for vulnerabilities found.
Arachni is a free and open-source vulnerability tool that supports Linux, Windows, and macOS. Arachni also assists in penetration testing by its ability to cope up with newly identified vulnerabilities.

6. Acunetix


Acunetix is a paid web application security scanner (open-source version also available) with many functionalities provided. Around 6500 vulnerabilities scanning range is available with this tool. In addition to web applications, it can also find vulnerabilities in the network as well.
Acunetix provides the ability to automate your scan. Suitable for large scale organizations as it can handle many devices. HSBC, NASA, USA Air force are few industrial giants who use Arachni for vulnerability tests.

7. Nmap


Nmap is one of the well-known free and open-source network scanning tools among many security professionals. Nmap uses the probing technique to discover hosts in the network and for operating system discovery.
This feature helps in detecting vulnerabilities in single or multiple networks. If you are new or learning with vulnerabilities scanning, then Nmap is a good start.

8. OpenSCAP


OpenSCAP is a framework of tools that assist in vulnerability scanning, vulnerability assessment, vulnerability measurement, creating security measures. OpenSCAP is a free and open-source tool developed by communities. OpenSCAP only supports Linux platforms.
OpenSCAP framework supports vulnerability scanning on web applications, web servers, databases, operating systems, networks, and virtual machines. Moreover, they provide a facility for risk assessment and support to counteract threats.

9. GoLismero


GoLismero is a free and open-source tool used for vulnerability scanning. GoLismero focuses on finding vulnerabilities on web applications but also can scan for vulnerabilities in the network as well. GoLismero is a convenient tool that works with results provided by other vulnerability tools such as OpenVAS, then combines the results and provides feedback.
GoLismero covers a wide range of vulnerabilities, including database and network vulnerabilities. Also, GoLismero facilitates countermeasures for vulnerabilities found.

10. Intruder


Intruder is a paid vulnerability scanner specifically designed to scan cloud-based storage. Intruder software starts to scan immediately after a vulnerability is released. The scanning mechanism in Intruder is automated and constantly monitors for vulnerabilities.
Intruder is suitable for enterprise-level vulnerability scanning as it can manage many devices. In addition to monitoring cloud-storage, Intruder can help identify network vulnerabilities as well as provide quality reporting and suggestions.

11. Comodo HackerProof

With Comodo Hackerproof you will be able to reduce cart abandonment, perform daily vulnerability scanning, and use the included PCI scanning tools. You can also utilize the drive-by attack prevention feature and build valuable trust with your visitors. Thanks to the benefit of Comodo Hackerproof, many businesses can convert more visitors into buyers.

Buyers tend to feel safer when making a transaction with your business, and you should find that this drives your revenue up. With the patent-pending scanning technology, SiteInspector, you will enjoy a new level of security.

12. Aircrack

Aircrack also is known as Aircrack-NG, is a set of tools used for assessing the WiFi network security. These tools can also be utilized in network auditing, and support multiple OS’s such as Linux, OS X, Solaris, NetBSD, Windows, and more.

The tool will focus on different areas of WiFi security, such as monitoring the packets and data, testing drivers and cards, cracking, replying to attacks, etc. This tool allows you to retrieve the lost keys by capturing the data packets.

13. Retina CS Community

Retina CS Community is an open-source web-based console that will enable you to make a more centralized and straightforward vulnerability management system. Retina CS Community has features like compliance reporting, patching, and configuration compliance, and because of this, you can perform an assessment of cross-platform vulnerability.

When it comes to controlling your network security, the tool is ideal for saving time, money, and effort. It includes an automatic vulnerability assessment for servers, workstations, DBs, and web applications. With features like virtual app scanning and vCenter integration, companies and organizations will have total support for virtual environments.

14. Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) 

An entirely free vulnerability scanner created by Microsoft, it’s used for testing your Windows server or windows computer for vulnerabilities. The Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer has several vital features, including scanning your network service packets, checking for security updates or other windows updates, and more. It is the ideal tool for Windows users.

It’s excellent for helping you to identify missing updates or security patches. Use the tool to install new security updates on your computer. Small to medium-sized businesses find the tool most useful, and it helps save the security department money with its features. You won’t need to consult a security expert to resolve the vulnerabilities that the tool finds.

15. Nexpose 

Nexpose is an open-source tool that you can use for no cost. This program is frequently used for vulnerability scanning by security professionals. Thanks to the Github community, all new vulnerabilities are now present in the Nexpose database. You can rely on this tool to provide an in-depth scanning of your web application and use it with the Metasploit Framework. It will consider a number of factors before producing the report.

Vulnerabilities are categorized by the tool according to their risk level and ranked from low to high. It’s capable of scanning new devices, so your network remains secure. Nexpose is updated each week, so you know it will find the latest hazards.

16. Nessus Professional 

Nessus is a branded and patented vulnerability scanner created by Tenable Network Security. Nessus will prevent the networks from attempts made by hackers, and it can scan the vulnerabilities that permit remote hacking of sensitive data.

The tool offers an extensive range of OS, Dbs, applications, and several other devices among cloud infrastructure, virtual and physical networks. Millions of users trust Nessus for their vulnerability assessment and configuration issues.

17. SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager 

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager has consistently received high praise from users. Many other solutions do not handle a specific sort of vulnerability, such as improperly setup networking equipment, but this one is addressed by the vulnerability assessment tool features it offers. This trait distinguishes it from the competition. The main use of this tool as a vulnerability scanning is to check network equipment configurations for mistakes and omissions. Periodically checking for changes in device setups is another use for it.

It integrates with the National Vulnerability Database and has access to the most current CVE’s to identify vulnerabilities in your Cisco devices. It will work with any Cisco device running ASA, IOS, or Nexus OS.  

How to select a vulnerability scanning tool

When looking for a vulnerability scanning tool, there are two things to keep in mind:

  1. Ensure it can define compliance rules based on regulations and standards relevant to your organization.

  2. Opt for a tool with an intuitive dashboard that clearly shows risk scores and reports to help prioritize patching efforts.

  3. And look for one that can scan your most critical systems and defenses.

Advantages of Scanning for Vulnerabilities 

Vulnerability scanning keeps systems secure from external threats. Other benefits include:

  • Affordable – Many vulnerability scanners are available free of charge.
  • Quick – Assessment takes a few hours to complete.
  • Automate – can use automated functions available in the vulnerability tools to perform scans regularly without manual involvement.
  • Performance – vulnerability scanners perform almost all the well-known vulnerability scan.
  • Cost/Benefit – reduce cost and increase benefits by optimizing security threats. 


The intention behind doing vulnerability assessment is to find the vulnerabilities and their criticalities, so that countermeasures can be put in place for further protection. It helps in maintaining integrity, confidentiality, and data availability.

These practices must be followed as part of countermeasures:

  • Validate every input (length, range, formate, and type)
  • Encode output
  • Use strong passwords
  • Encrypt communication
  • Share and store credentials securely
  • Implement authentication mechanism

Additional countermeasures include the use of virus scanners and antivirus programs, secure multipurpose internet mail extensions, etc. 

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