Cybersecurity is one of the highest priorities for organizations operating in the digital space. The threat to businesses from hacking, ransomware, malware, and data exfiltration has never been more serious. The best way to protect your business from the very latest cybersecurity threats is to invest in regular vulnerability scanning.

What is Vulnerability Scanning?

Vulnerability scanning is when a 3rd party application scanner is run against your computing environment to find security holes and exploits. A vulnerability scanner scans the entire platform, including the operating system, files and folders, permissions, and user accounts, as well as the cloud or data center configuration, networking, databases, and more.

The vulnerability scanner compares the results against its database and creates a report of any vulnerabilities affecting the stack. These reports typically categorize vulnerabilities into urgent, high, medium, and low priorities.

It is critical for the business to examine the report and assign remediation activities to various teams across the business. In some circumstances, a security waiver will be required to accept the issue as a known risk, but in most other circumstances action will be needed such as making configuration changes, patching, and updating software.

What Are The Top Vulnerability Scanners?

There are hundreds of vulnerability scanners available. Most incur licensing costs, but some are available as free open-source tools. A significant amount of expertise is required to operate these programs effectively, and this task is typically undertaken by security professionals or outsourced to a 3rd party.

1. Greenbone Vulnerability Management (GVM)

Our number one choice is the open-source powerhouse Greenbone. It’s the world’s most used open-source vulnerability tool and features lightweight enterprise-grade utilities for risk assessment and remediation of vulnerabilities. GVM has a huge database of approximately 50,000 network vulnerability tests supporting 26,000 CVE and runs as a WebGUI or via the command line. Its compatibility with existing digital assets is stellar; it will detect and analyze any device on your network, making compliance and risk management a breeze to attain.

2. Wazuh

Wazuh is a top vulnerability scanner that provides an entire security suite. The vulnerability detection engine runs an inventory against all of your digital assets, creating a baseline and continuously crosschecking CVE databases to ensure your systems a protected against the very latest threats.

Other great features of Wazuh include File Integrity Monitoring, Log Data Analysis, Intrusion Detection, and Security Analysis. You also get tools for configuration assessment, regulatory compliance, and security of cloud assets including containers; Wazuh is truly a feature-packed product.

3. OpenVAS

The Open Vulnerability Assessment Scanner (OpenVAS) is a user-friendly vulnerability tool that scans public-facing and internal IT systems for weaknesses. It is available as an SaaS cloud product or as a local server installation. The scanning service uses vulnerability tests (VTs) to detect existing vulnerabilities on the desired network. It features several premium services including issue tracking, compliance testing, perimeter scanning, and configuration management.

4. Qualys

The Qualys Vulnerability Scanner is popular with enterprise clients. It is an SaaS service that requires a Qualys management server deployed to your network and the Qualys service installed on every device in your environment. Once installed and configured, Qualys works independently with minimal user interaction. The scan results are uploaded directly to the Qualys SaaS platform.

The detailed audits identify risks in the chosen environment and provide key features including continuous monitoring, vulnerability management, policy compliance, PCI compliance, security assessment questionnaire, web application scanning, web application firewall, and more.

5. Nessus

Tenable Nessus is another very popular vulnerability scanner that works similarly to Qualys. It’s available as a SaaS platform or as a locally installed server instance. It provides high-speed and in-depth assessments of the chosen environment by referencing over 69000 CVEs for known exploitations and misconfigurations.

Nessus features detailed reporting and monitoring of the environment by scanning IPV4, IPV6, and hybrid networks. It actively scans network devices, virtualized platforms, operating systems, databases, web apps, and more, looking for threats, bots, compliance deviation, configuration drift, and sensitive content such as PII.

5. Burp

Burp from PortSwigger is a relative newcomer to the cybersecurity scene, but it’s making waves and growing in popularity. It’s an SaaS offering that focuses on website and web application vulnerabilities. Users can perform recurring dynamic scans across thousands of applications; all you need is a URL.

The clever thing about Burp is the wealth of information you are given when issues are identified; you get details of exactly what is erroring plus links to official documentation that details the vulnerability and the recommended actions. This saves a mountain of admin work as the information you need is right in front of you.

6. Tripwire

Tripwire products are available as physical appliances for the data center or as a virtualized stack for cloud or on-premise. Tripwire is a popular choice for organizations that are bound by compliance and regulations such as PCI.

Tripwire is great at detecting anomalies in transactions, file changes, unexpected network behavior, and so on. Upon activation, Tripwire creates a baseline of the exiting environment and monitors with real-time detection looking for changes in the configuration. Ideally, not only will Tripwire detect vulnerabilities, but will stop a breach from occurring!

7. WireShark

Wireshark is another open-source vulnerability scanner that makes our top 10, and it’s highly likely you either use it already or have heard glowing reviews about it. Wireshark specializes in network layer analysis, inspecting packets of data as they traverse the network. It is superb at spotting vulnerabilities at the network layer, however, it requires a security expert that is well versed in WireShark to get the most out of it – it’s easy to use, but very hard to master.

Some of the key features include live capture of network traffic for offline analysis and extremely detailed filters to narrow down searches to exactly what you are looking for.


OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is a hugely popular free security tool that is maintained by a large number of volunteers. It can help you automatically find security vulnerabilities in your web applications during the development process. It’s also a great tool for experienced pen-testers to use for manual security testing.

For a free product, it is teeming with great features, including an intercepting proxy server, traditional and AJAX web crawlers, automated scanner, passive scanner, forced browsing, fuzzer, WebSocket support, scripting languages, and plug-n-hack support.

9. Acunetix

Acunetix from Invicti is a suite of security tools designed to make security professional’s life much simpler to manage. Not only does it detect the latest types of vulnerabilities, but it also automatically creates tickets for the relevant support team and provides a detailed guide on how to remediate the issue.  It can continuously scan the existing environment and update the dashboard against what has been fixed and what new issues have been found.

10. Nikto2

Nikto2 is another free open-source vulnerability scanner that focuses on detecting issues with web servers. It performs comprehensive tests against web servers for multiple items (including over 6700 potentially dangerous files/programs), checks for outdated versions of over 1250 servers, and scans for version-specific problems on over 270 servers.

It also checks for server configuration items such as the presence of multiple index files and HTTP server options and will attempt to identify installed web servers and software.

How can Atlantic.Net help?

Atlantic.Net has been providing cutting-edge hosting services for over 30 years. Are you looking for a leading hosting provider to host your next project? Look no further than Atlantic.Net. Our infrastructure is audited frequently and we regularly conduct vulnerability remediation on our infrastructure services.

With over 30 years of proven experience, our full suite of managed services and always-available professional support team will build the perfect solution for your business or organization.

Atlantic.Net stands ready to help you attain fast compliance with a range of certifications, such as SOC 2 and SOC 3, HIPAA, and HITECH, all with 24x7x365 support, monitoring, and world-class data center infrastructure. For faster application deployment, free IT architecture design, and assessment, visit us at, call 888-618-DATA (3282), or email us at [email protected].

You can find out more information by contacting our sales team today!