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5 Best Vulnerability Scanners: Features, Steps, And Limitations

Updated on: September 21, 2022

5 Best Vulnerability Scanners: Features, Steps, And Limitations

Article Summary

This article discusses the 5 best vulnerability scanners that organizations need to be aware of along with their features, pros, and cons. Besides this, the article also mentions the features to look for and factors to keep in mind when choosing the scanner best suited to your needs.

Best Vulnerability Scanners

Vulnerability scanners are in high demand as companies are becoming more and more security conscious. Here are the 5 best vulnerability scanners for your organization to consider: 

  1. Astra Pentest
  2. Qualys
  3. Rapid7
  4. Intruder
  5. Nessus

A lot of thought and consideration has to be put into choosing the right vulnerability scanning partner to assess your organization’s security posture thoroughly. Some factors to consider include: 

  1. Budget: Are the tools considered by you affordable for your organization and with all the required features for scanning?
  2. Features: Are there features like business logic error detection or vetted scans or zero false positives assurances that set them apart from other competitors?  
  3. Compliance: Is the scanning tool capable of conducting specific scans for various regulatory compliances? 
  4. Customer Support: Do they provide 24*7 customer support and help with remediation?
  5. Integrations: Can the vulnerability scanner be integrated into your organization’s CI/CD pipeline?
  6. Detailed Reports: Ensure the company provides detailed reports with all the relevant details.

Introduction

This article details the 5 best vulnerability scanners out there with their features, pros, and cons. Along with this, the provides help on the factors you should consider when making such a serious decision as well as the features often offered by a good vulnerability scanner. 

Lastly, we elucidate the steps carried out during an extensive vulnerability scan as well as the limitations of the vulnerability scanning process.  

S. No.Vulnerability ScannerFeatures
1. Astra Pentest1. More than 3000 tests.
2. Allows integrations with Slack, GitHub, GitLab and more.
3. Compliance-specific scans provided.
4. Detailed reports with remediation assistance.
2. Qualys1. available for major cloud platforms.
2. Provides cloud-based vulnerability management.
3. Highly scalable
3.Rapid71. Provides vulnerability testing, threat intelligence.
2. Easy to Use
3. Helps with compliance
4. Intruder1. Helps with attack surface monitoring.
2. Provides Real-time alerts.
5. Nessus1. Provides point-in-time analysis.
2. Helps achieve compliance through scans.

5 Best Vulnerability Scanners: Features, Pros, And Cons

Astra Pentest

1. Astra Pentest

Astra Pentest provides a world-class comprehensive vulnerability scanner with the following features: 

  • Comprehensive vulnerability scanner

Astra Pentest provides continuous scanning facilities with its comprehensive scanner that is capable of conducting more the 3000 tests to find any and every hidden vulnerability.

It offers deep scans for web applications, APIs, networks, mobile applications, and cloud infrastructure. 

  • CI/CD Integrations

Astra offers CI/CD integration services for organizations. This helps companies move from DevOps To DevSecOps, thus giving more priority to security within every phase of a project’s development. It offers integrations with Slack, GitHub, and GitLab to name a few. 

  • Compliance-specific Scans

Astra offers the option to scan for specific compliances required by your organization. It provides a compliance-specific dashboard where you can opt for the specific compliance to scan for. 

Once the scan is complete the results reveal the areas of non-compliance. Compliance-specific scans provided by Astra include PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, ISO 27001, and GDPR. 

  • Intuitive Dashboard (CXO friendly)

Astra’s vulnerability scanner boasts a CXO-friendly dashboard that is super easy to navigate. It displays the vulnerabilities as and when they are found. 

Members of the development team can be added to the dashboard to collaborate with pentesters for quicker vulnerability resolution. 

The dashboard also offers the option to comment under each vulnerability so that the development team can clear queries quickly.

  • Detailed Reports

Once the vulnerability scanning is completed a report is generated which includes the scope of testing, a list of vulnerabilities found, their details, and possible remediation measures. 

It also mentions their CVSS score and Astra goes a step further by providing customers with an actionable vulnerability risk score based on which critical vulnerabilities can be prioritized.

  • Remediation Support

Once vulnerability scanning with Astra is complete Astra also provides detailed steps for remediation based on risk prioritization. This is done with the aid of POC videos and collaboration within the vulnerability dashboard.

Pros 

  • Can detect business logic errors and conduct scans behind logins. 
  • Provides rescanning upon successful remediation of vulnerabilities. 
  • Provides compliance-specific scans and reports. 
  • Ensure zero false positives through vetted scans.

Cons

  • Could have more integrations.

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Qualys Cloud Security

2. Qualys

Qualys is a cloud vulnerability scanner that allows the assessment of cloud assets, vulnerabilities, and compliance status. Qualys has a large database of known CVEs that is constantly updated. Its scalability and accuracy are some of the reasons that make this tool a popular choice.

Pros

  • The highly scalable vulnerability scanning solution
  • Provides vulnerability management, detection, and response.
  • Accurate reporting that is easy to follow. 

Cons

  • Can be slow when scanning. 
  • Difficult to navigate for beginners. 
  • Slightly on the expensive end. 
  • No zero false positive assurance. 

Also Read: Qualys alternative

Rapid7 vulnerability scanner

3. Rapid7

Rapid7 is an upcoming vulnerability scanning service. The tool provides vulnerability testing, risk management, and threat intelligence. They also help achieve compliance with various regulatory standards through their vulnerability assessments. 

Pros

  • Great scanning abilities that help meet compliance requirements.
  • Their services are easy to use and deploy.
  • The services are scalable based on customer requirements.

Cons

  • Scanned devices can only be removed manually. 
  • Inadequate customer satisfaction. 
Intruder CLod Vernability Scanning

4. Intruder

Intruder is a top-notch online vulnerability scanner that helps avoid costly data leaks and breaches through vulnerability scanning. It offers continuous vulnerability management, compliance reporting, and monitoring as well as attack surface monitoring. 

Pros

  • Continuously monitors attack surfaces for any chinks in security. 
  • Provides comprehensive security checks to find vulnerabilities like misconfigurations, injections, OWASP Top 10, and more. 
  • Automated scanning with real-time alerts for exposed ports and other services. 

Cons

  • Could have better integrations. 
  • Confusing interface.
  • Zero false positives are not assured. 

Check Out: Best Intruder Alternative

Nessus Vulnerability Assessment

5. Nessus

Nessus is a web application vulnerability scanning tool released by Tenable. It helps with point-in-time analysis of security systems to find vulnerabilities that may be plaguing them. They also provide a detailed reporting feature that details the vulnerabilities found and the appropriate patches for them. 

Pros 

  • Helps find missing patches that are critical to maintaining security. 
  • Point-in-time analysis of security system. 
  • Helps achieve compliance with the scans. 

Cons

  • Advanced support is only available upon additional payment. 
  • Takes time to complete scans. 
  • Can be an expensive solution. 

These are the best vulnerability scanners available out there to ensure the safety of your organization’s online presence.

How To Choose The Best Vulnerability Scanner? 

Here are the detailed factors to take into consideration when choosing from the best vulnerability scanners.

1. Budget

Choosing according to the budget set by you for your organization’s online security needs. The companies that you’re shortlisting should have the flexibility of setting a quote customized to your needs and or must have budget-friendly packages that are precise for your company size. 

2. Features

Do the tools considered by you offer any additional features within the vulnerability scanning like vetted scans to ensure zero false positives, detection of business logic errors, scans behind logins, and compliance-specific scans? 

This puts these tools at the top of your list as they can provide enhanced detection of various risks. 

Also Read: Top 6 Web Application Vulnerability Scanners

3. Compliance

What are the compliances catered for by the tools within your consideration? Do they provide compliance-specific scans with tailor-made compliance reports based on the compliance you want to test for? Compliances like PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, GDPR, and ISO 27001 are some of the most important ones to keep in mind. 

4. Customer Support

Make sure that customer support provided by the vulnerability scanning provider in question is good with a quick query clearance rate. Check up on customer reviews and gain a better understanding of the customer support provided by the companies. 

5. Integrations

Can the tool be integrated with your CI/CD pipeline? This is crucial in the present-day scenario where due importance is being given to security in the online platform. Thus ensure that the tool you opt for can be integrated with your projects on different platforms. 

6. Detailed Reports

Ensure that tool provides a well-detailed report explaining and summarizing the finding of the vulnerability scan based on the scope set by you and your scanning partner. Check out some of the sample reports provided by the companies on your shortlist to see which one is more detailed and goal-oriented and choose accordingly. 

Features Of A Good Vulnerability Scanner

A good vulnerability scanner should have the following features provided by it: 

1. Accessibility 

It should be able to test and assess various types of assets that could be owned by a company from the web or mobile apps, to APIs, networks, and the cloud infrastructure. It should be compatible with the major cloud providers i.e. Azure, GCP, and AWS.

Also read: Top 5 Cloud Vulnerability Scanners

2. Continuous Scanning

The tool should continuously monitor and scan assets to find any hidden or new vulnerabilities that could have risen. It is also important that these scans be conducted every time an application is updated, a new feature is added or some other form of change is made. 

Also Read: Continuous Penetration Testing

3. Integrations

It should be integrated with various forums to ensure that your organization’s projects, be it on any platform are safe from vulnerabilities at every stage of their development. This helps your organization to move from DevOps to DevSecOps thus giving more priority to security.  

4. Compliance-Specific Scans

Compliance-specific scans can help find areas of non-compliance for specific regulatory standards that need to be upheld by your organization. This along with specific compliance reporting can strongly help you remediate any areas of non-compliance quickly before you receive any hefty fines or penalties for non-compliance. 

5. Comprehensive Reports

Comprehensive reports are a staple feature of a good vulnerability scanner as this helps customers make the fixes based on risk priority as this with the detailed steps for patching each vulnerability will be mentioned within the report along with the CVSS scores for them. 

6. Remediation Assistance

They should be able to provide innate assistance with your vulnerability remediation for your organization’s security. This includes providing POC videos, immediate query clearance, and providing detailed steps within the vulnerability scanning report.  

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Steps in Vulnerability Scanning

The following are the steps are those followed by the best vulnerability scanners like Astra Pentest.

1. Scoping

Scoping refers to setting the rules of engagement between the vulnerability scanning team and your organization. This is strictly based on the assets that you want to scan, the reason behind it is improper scoping could lead to legal troubles as well as affect the efficiency of your vulnerability scan. 

2. Scanning

This is the phase where the actual scan takes place. Automated or manual scanning aims to find any areas of vulnerability, risks, and non-compliance that need to be fixed immediately as they pose a danger to security. Assets are scanned based on the scope that was set. 

3. Reporting

Once the scanning is complete an automated vulnerability report is generated. These details on the scope of the scan, the different tests conducted and more importantly, the vulnerabilities are listed with individual details on each of them like their CVSS scores, the actionable risk scores for prioritization, and well-detailed steps for remediation.  

4. Remediation

Based on the vulnerability scanning report generated the development team of the target organization in collaboration with the scanning team works to remediate the vulnerabilities as efficiently and quickly as possible. 

5. Rescanning

Once remediation is done, a rescan is provided to ensure that no new vulnerabilities have risen and the previously found vulnerabilities have been fixed flawlessly. 

Limitations of Vulnerability Scanners

  1. Not Extensive

A vulnerability scan can only detect the vulnerabilities but it does not provide an in-depth analysis of the damage that could be caused by it if the vulnerability was made used to gain entry by a malicious hacker. 

This is where pentesting is a much more extensive option as it not only identifies vulnerabilities it exploits them so that you can gain a better understanding of how severe the effect of a breach would be when stemmed from that vulnerability. 

  1. Unclear Implications

Each vulnerability when exploited can expose different areas of your organization. A vulnerability scan cannot generally give a thorough understanding of the implication that a vulnerability has on your security system. 

  1. False Positives

Vulnerability scans can also result in false positives which in turn results in organizations spending time and money to fix vulnerabilities based on a glitch.  

This is where vetted scans are a great option as the vulnerabilities found are double-checked by the scan provider to ensure that all vulnerabilities found are legitimate. 

Conclusion

This article has detailed the 5 best vulnerability scanners with Astra Pentest as the top contender, and their features, pros, and cons. Along with this, we have also detailed various factors to consider when choosing the web vulnerability scanner or the best cloud application vulnerability scanner. 

These along with the steps in vulnerability scanning are aimed at helping you arrive at the best vulnerability scanning solution for your needs!

What can vulnerability scanners not do?

A vulnerability scanner provides an in-depth view of the impact of a vulnerability if it is exploited. Another issue with vulnerability scans is that it raises false positives which can result in companies spending time and money to fix vulnerabilities that didn’t exist. 

Advantages of vulnerability scanners?

Vulnerability scanners can help companies assess their security systems in a budget-friendly manner with continuous monitoring and fast results.

How does a vulnerability scanner detect threats?

Vulnerability scanners have a vulnerability database with all-known CVEs to which the vulnerabilities detected be matched for correct identification.

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Nivedita James

Nivedita is a technical writer with Astra who has a deep love for knowledge and all things curious in nature. An avid reader at heart she found her calling writing about SEO, robotics, and currently cybersecurity.
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