Nessus is a security and vulnerability scanner created by Renaud Deraison in 1998. It was free and open source for several years, but in 2005 was changed to closed source and now charges fees for some levels of commercial use. It is available from Tenable.

Nessus network security scanner

The Nessus® vulnerability scanner, is the world-leader in active scanners, featuring high speed discovery, configuration auditing, asset profiling, sensitive data discovery and vulnerability analysis of your security posture. Nessus scanners can be distributed throughout an entire enterprise, inside DMZs, and across physically separate networks.

Nessus has a large database of vulnerability information (over 20,000 plugins) which is constantly being updated. Nessus comes in a client-server configuration, is highly customizable and includes a scripting language. Nessus can import scan results from nmap or other discovery tools or it can accomplish the discovery process itself.

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