How to install the OpenVAS security audit tool on Ubuntu Server 18.04

Learn how to install the open source security audit tool, OpenVAS, on the Ubuntu Server platform.

How to install the OpenVAS Security Audit Tool on Ubuntu Server 18.04

OpenVAS is a full-featured vulnerability scanner that includes numerous tests that can run on your servers. OpenVAS Network Vulnerability Tests (NVTs) are served via the Greenbone Community Feed. The components that make up OpenVAS include:

  • Greenbone Security Assistant is a web-based user interface for the administration and management of OpenVAS.
  • OpenVAS Manager is the heart of OpenVAS.
  • OpenVAS Scanner is the actual scanner.
  • Scan Targets are the targets to be scanned for vulnerabilities.

I'm going to walk you through the process of installing OpenVAS on Ubuntu Server 18.04.

SEE: Information security policy template download (Tech Pro Research)

What you need

The only things you need are an instance of Ubuntu Server 18.04 and a user account with sudo privileges. With those in place, let's install OpenVAS.

Installing OpenVAS

The first thing to do is install the necessary repository. Open a terminal window on your Ubuntu Server and issue the command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mrazavi/openvas

Once this completes, update apt with the command:

sudo apt-get update

Install OpenVAS with the command:

sudo apt install sqlite3 openvas9 libopenvas9-dev -y

During the installation, you'll be prompted to include the redis database (Figure A). Make sure to okay this installation by tabbing to Yes and hitting Enter.

Figure A

Figure A: Adding the redis database to the installation.

Update the tests

Once OpenVAS is installed, you need to update the vulnerability tests with the following commands:

sudo greenbone-nvt-syncsudo greenbone-scapdata-sync
sudo greenbone-certdata-sync

The above commands will take quite some time, so you might want to step away from the computer and take care of another task. When the updates are complete, restart OpenVAS with the following commands:

sudo systemctl restart openvas-scanner
sudo systemctl restart openvas-manager
sudo systemctl restart openvas-gsa

Enable the services for boot with the commands:

sudo systemctl enable openvas-scanner
sudo systemctl enable openvas-manager
sudo systemctl enable openvas-gsa

Rebuild the NVT cache and check the set up

Next, the NVT cache needs to be rebuilt, so the newly updated tests are loaded into the OpenVAS manager. This is done with the following command:

sudo openvasmd --rebuild --progress --verbose

Once this completes, test the set up with the command:

sudo openvas-check-setup --v9

Everything should come back okay. You're ready to use OpenVAS.

Using OpenVAS

Point a web browser to https://SERVER_IP:4000 and log into OpenVAS with admin as both username and password. Once you've logged in, you can start working with the OpenVAS Dashboard (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B: The OpenVAS Dashboard.

That's all there is to installing this powerful, open source vulnerability scanner. Take the time to poke around the dashboard to get familiar with all the features available in the scanner. Next time around, we'll scan the network to discover hosts.

Also see

Image: Jack Wallen

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....