How to Setup OpenVAS to Perform a Security Vulnerability Test on a Linux Server

How to Setup OpenVAS Tool for Server Security Tests

OpenVAS, now known as the Greenbone Vulnerability Management (in short – GVM), is a comprehensive open-source vulnerability scanning and vulnerability management solution. It’s an essential tool for webmasters, server administrators, and security professionals to measure the security posture of their web servers. By using OpenVAS, you can identify potential vulnerabilities in your system and take corrective actions before attackers exploit them.

In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of setting up OpenVAS on a Linux machine and performing a security vulnerability test. This will help you gauge the security of your server and ensure that it’s fortified against potential threats.

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Installing OpenVAS

Before installing any new software, it’s always a good idea to update your system’s package repository. Execute the following command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Use the following command to install OpenVAS:

sudo apt install openvas

After installation, run the setup process to configure OpenVAS and download the latest vulnerability tests:

sudo openvas-setup

Official website:

Step 2: Accessing the OpenVAS Dashboard

Once the setup process completes, you can access the OpenVAS dashboard through a web browser.

Navigate to https://your_server_ip:9392. Replace your_server_ip with the IP address of your server.

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Use the default username admin and the password generated during the setup process.

Step 3: Running a Vulnerability Scan

From the dashboard, navigate to Scans > Targets > New Target. Enter the details of the server or IP range you want to scan.

After creating the target, go to Scans > Tasks > New Task. Select the target you just created and start the scan.

Once the scan completes, you can review the vulnerabilities detected, their severity, and suggested remediation steps.

Step 4: Regularly Update OpenVAS Feeds

To ensure that OpenVAS can detect the latest vulnerabilities, regularly update its feeds:

sudo openvas-feed-update

Commands Mentioned

  • sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y – Updates the system’s package repository.
  • sudo apt install openvas – Installs OpenVAS.
  • sudo openvas-setup – Sets up and configures OpenVAS.
  • sudo openvas-feed-update – Updates OpenVAS feeds.


  1. What is OpenVAS?

    OpenVAS, now known as Greenbone Vulnerability Management (GVM), is an open-source vulnerability scanning and management tool. It helps in identifying and managing vulnerabilities in a system or network.

  2. Why is regular updating of OpenVAS feeds important?

    Regularly updating OpenVAS feeds ensures that the tool is equipped with the latest vulnerability tests, enabling it to detect and manage recent vulnerabilities in the system.

  3. How often should I run vulnerability scans?

    It’s recommended to run vulnerability scans regularly, preferably monthly or after significant changes to your system. This ensures that your system’s security posture is always up-to-date.

  4. Can OpenVAS detect zero-day vulnerabilities?

    While OpenVAS is a powerful tool, detecting zero-day vulnerabilities—those that are unknown to the public—requires advanced threat intelligence and specialized tools. OpenVAS focuses on known vulnerabilities.

  5. Is OpenVAS suitable for large enterprises?

    Yes, OpenVAS can be scaled and integrated into large enterprise environments. However, for extensive networks and critical infrastructures, it’s advisable to complement it with other security solutions and practices.

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Ensuring the security of your server is paramount in today’s digital age. Vulnerabilities can lead to data breaches, unauthorized access, and other malicious activities. Tools like OpenVAS provide an efficient way to regularly check and fortify your server’s security. By following this guide, you’ve taken a significant step towards safeguarding your server. Remember to regularly update your OpenVAS feeds and conduct scans to stay ahead of potential threats. For more insights on hosting solutions, explore articles on dedicated server, VPS server, cloud hosting, and shared hosting. Each hosting solution offers its unique advantages, and understanding them can help you make informed decisions tailored to your specific needs.

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Security is an ongoing process. As technology evolves, so do the threats. Regularly monitoring your server’s security posture, staying updated with the latest security news, and being proactive in implementing security measures are crucial. OpenVAS is just one of the many tools available to help you in this endeavor.

Additionally, consider integrating other security practices into your routine:

  • Regular Backups: Ensure you have a backup strategy in place. Regular backups can be a lifesaver in case of data corruption or breaches.
  • Firewall Configuration: A well-configured firewall can prevent many threats. Ensure it’s set up to allow only necessary traffic.
  • User Access Control: Limit root access and use sudo privileges wisely. Ensure that only trusted individuals have access to critical parts of your system.
  • Stay Updated: Regularly update all software, including the operating system, to patch any known vulnerabilities.

While tools like OpenVAS provide a robust mechanism to identify vulnerabilities, a holistic approach to server security involves a combination of tools, best practices, and continuous learning. Stay vigilant, stay updated, and always prioritize the security of your digital assets.


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