Scan Templates

You can use scan templates to create custom policies for your organization. Then, you can run scans based on Tenable's scan templates or your custom policies' settings. For more information, see Create a Policy.

When you first create a scan or policy, the Scan Templates section or Policy Templates section appears, respectively. Tenable Nessus provides separate templates for scanners and agents, depending on which sensor you want to use for scanning:

If you have custom policies, they appear in the User Defined tab.

When you configure a Tenable-provided scan template, you can modify only the settings included for the scan template type. When you create a user-defined scan template, you can modify a custom set of settings for your scan.

For descriptions of all the scanner and agent template settings, see Settings.

Note: If a plugin requires authentication or settings to communicate with another system, the plugin is not available on agents. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Patch management
  • Mobile device management
  • Cloud infrastructure audit
  • Database checks that require authentication

Scanner Templates

There are three scanner template categories in Tenable Nessus

  • DiscoveryTenable recommends using discovery scans to see what hosts are on your network, and associated information such as IP address, FQDN, operating systems, and open ports, if available. After you have a list of hosts, you can choose what hosts you want to target in a specific vulnerability scan.

  • VulnerabilitiesTenable recommends using vulnerability scan templates for most of your organization's standard, day-to-day scanning needs. Tenable also publishes vulnerability scan templates that allow you to scan your network for a specific vulnerability or group of vulnerabilities. Tenable frequently updates the Tenable Nessus scan template library with templates that detect the latest vulnerabilities of public interest, such as Log4Shell.

  • Compliance — Tenable recommends using configuration scan templates to check whether host configurations are compliant with various industry standards. Compliance scans are sometimes referred to as configuration scans. For more information about the checks that compliance scans can perform, see Compliance and SCAP Settings.

The following table describes the available scanner templates.

Tip: In the Tenable Nessus user interface, use the search box to find a template quickly.

Note: If you configure Tenable Nessus Manager for agent management, Tenable does not recommend using Tenable Nessus Manager as a local scanner. For example, do not configure Tenable Security Center scan zones to include Nessus Manager and avoid running network-based scans directly from Tenable Nessus Manager. These configurations can negatively impact agent scan performance. In most cases, use agent scan templates when working in Tenable Nessus Manager.
Template Description
Discovery
Attack Surface Discovery (Tenable Nessus Expert only) Uses Bit Discovery to scan a list of high-level domains and extract subdomains and DNS-related data. For more information, see Create an Attack Surface Discovery Scan with Bit Discovery.

Host Discovery

Performs a simple scan to discover live hosts and open ports.

Launch this scan to see what hosts are on your network and associated information such as IP address, FQDN, operating systems, and open ports, if available. After you have a list of hosts, you can choose what hosts you want to target in a specific vulnerability scan.

Tenable recommends that organizations who do not have a passive network monitor, such as Tenable Nessus Network Monitor, run this scan weekly to discover new assets on your network.

Note: Assets identified by discovery scans do not count toward your license.

Vulnerabilities

Basic Network Scan

Performs a full system scan that is suitable for any host. Use this template to scan an asset or assets with all of Nessus's plugins enabled. For example, you can perform an internal vulnerability scan on your organization's systems.

Advanced Network Scan

The most configurable scan type. You can configure this scan template to match any policy. This template has the same default settings as the basic scan template, but it allows for additional configuration options.

Note: Advanced scan templates allow you to scan more deeply using custom configuration, such as faster or slower checks, but misconfigurations can cause asset outages or network saturation. Use the advanced templates with caution.
Advanced Dynamic Scan

An advanced scan without any recommendations, where you can configure dynamic plugin filters instead of manually selecting plugin families or individual plugins. As Tenable releases new plugins, any plugins that match your filters are automatically added to the scan or policy. This allows you to tailor your scans for specific vulnerabilities while ensuring that the scan stays up to date as new plugins are released.

Malware Scan

Scans for malware on Windows and Unix systems.

Tenable Nessus detects malware using a combined allow list and block list approach to monitor known good processes, alert on known bad processes, and identify coverage gaps between the two by flagging unknown processes for further inspection.

Mobile Device Scan

(Tenable Nessus Manager only)

Assesses mobile devices via Microsoft Exchange or an MDM.

Use this template to scan what is installed on the targeted mobile devices and report on the installed applications or application versions' vulnerabilities.

The Mobile Device Scan plugins allow you to obtain information from devices registered in a Mobile Device Manager (MDM) and from Active Directory servers that contain information from Microsoft Exchange Servers.

  • To query for information, the Tenable Nessus scanner must be able to reach the Mobile Device Management servers. Ensure no screening devices block traffic to these systems from the Nessus scanner. In addition, you must give Tenable Nessus administrative credentials (for example, domain administrator) to the Active Directory servers.
  • To scan for mobile devices, you must configure Tenable Nessus with authentication information for the management server and the mobile plugins. Since Tenable Nessus authenticates directly to the management servers, you do not need to configure a scan policy to scan specific hosts.
  • For ActiveSync scans that access data from Microsoft Exchange servers, Tenable Nessus retrieves information from phones that have been updated in the last 365 days.

Credentialed Patch Audit

Authenticates hosts and enumerates missing updates.

Use this template with credentials to give Tenable Nessus direct access to the host, scan the target hosts, and enumerate missing patch updates.

Intel AMT Security Bypass

Performs remote and local checks for CVE-2017-5689.

Spectre and Meltdown

Performs remote and local checks for CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5715, and CVE-2017-5754.

WannaCry Ransomeware

Scans for the WannaCry ransomware (MS17-010).

Ripple20 Remote Scan

Detects hosts running the Treck stack in the network, which may be affected by Ripple20 vulnerabilities.

Zerologon Remote Scan

Detects Microsoft Netlogon elevation of privilege vulnerability (Zerologon).

Solarigate

Detects SolarWinds Solorigate vulnerabilities using remote and local checks.

ProxyLogon: MS Exchange

Performs remote and local checks to detect Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities related to CVE-2021-26855, CVE-2021-26857, CVE-2021-26858, and CVE-2021-27065.

PrintNightmare

Performs local checks for CVE-2021-34527, the PrintNightmare Windows Print Spooler vulnerability.

Active Directory Starter Scan

Scans for misconfigurations in Active Directory.

Use this template to check Active Directory for Kerberoasting, Weak Kerberos encryption, Kerberos pre-authentication validation, non-expiring account passwords, unconstrained delegation, null sessions, Kerberos KRBTGT, dangerous trust relationships, Primary Group ID integrity, and blank passwords.

Log4Shell

Detects the Log4Shell vulnerability (CVE-2021-44228) in Apache Log4j via local checks.

Log4Shell Remote Checks

Detects the Log4Shell vulnerability (CVE-2021-44228) in Apache Log4j via remote checks.

Log4Shell Vulnerability Ecosystem

Detects the Log4Shell vulnerability (CVE-2021-44228) in Apache Log4j via local and remote checks. This template is dynamic and is regularly updated with new plugins as third-party vendors patch their software.

CISA Alerts AA22-011A and AA22-047A Performs remote and local checks for vulnerabilities from CISA alerts AA22-011A and AA22-047A.
ContiLeaks Performs remote and local checks for ContiLeaks vulnerabilities.
Ransomware Ecosystem Performs remote and local checks for common ransomware vulnerabilities.
2022 Threat Landscape Retrospective (TLR) Detects vulnerabilities featured in Tenable's 2022 Threat Landscape Retrospective report.
Compliance
Audit Cloud Infrastructure

Audits the configuration of third-party cloud services.

You can use this template to scan the configuration of Amazon Web Service (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace, Salesforce.com, and Zoom, given that you provide credentials for the service you want to audit.

Internal PCI Network Scan

Performs an internal PCI DSS (11.2.1) vulnerability scan.

This template creates scans that you can use to satisfy internal (PCI DSS 11.2.1) scanning requirements for ongoing vulnerability management programs that satisfy PCI compliance requirements. You can use these scans for ongoing vulnerability management and to perform rescans until passing or clean results are achieved. You can provide credentials to enumerate missing patches and client-side vulnerabilities.

Note: While the PCI DSS requires you to provide evidence of passing or "clean" scans on at least a quarterly basis, you must also perform scans after any significant changes to your network (PCI DSS 11.2.3).

MDM Config Audit

Audits the configuration of mobile device managers.

The MDM Config Audit template reports on a variety of MDM vulnerabilities, such as password requirements, remote wipe settings, and the use of insecure features, such as tethering and Bluetooth.

Offline Config Audit

Audits the configuration of network devices.

Offline configuration audits allow Tenable Nessus to scan hosts without the need to scan over the network or use credentials. Organizational policies may not allow you to scan devices or know credentials for devices on the network for security reasons. Offline configuration audits use host configuration files from hosts to scan instead. Through scanning these files, you can ensure that devices' settings comply with audits without the need to scan the host directly.

Tenable recommends using offline configuration audits to scan devices that do not support secure remote access and devices that scanners cannot access.

Unofficial PCI Quarterly External Scan

Performs quarterly external scans as required by PCI.

You can use this template to simulate an external scan (PCI DSS 11.2.2) to meet PCI DSS quarterly scanning requirements. However, you cannot submit the scan results from this template to Tenable for PCI Validation. Only Tenable Vulnerability Management customers can submit their PCI scan results to Tenable for PCI ASV validation.

Policy Compliance Auditing

Audits system configurations against a known baseline.

The compliance checks can audit against custom security policies, such as password complexity, system settings, or registry values on Windows operating systems. For Windows systems, the compliance audits can test for a large percentage of anything that can be described in a Windows policy file. For Unix systems, the compliance audits test for running processes, user security policy, and content of files.

SCAP and OVAL Auditing

Audits systems using SCAP and OVAL definitions.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) is a set of policies for managing vulnerabilities and policy compliance in government agencies. It relies on multiple open standards and policies, including OVAL, CVE, CVSS, CPE, and FDCC policies.

  • SCAP compliance auditing requires sending an executable to the remote host.
  • Systems running security software (for example, McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention), may block or quarantine the executable required for auditing. For those systems, you must make an exception for either the host or the executable sent.
  • When using the SCAP and OVAL Auditing template, you can perform Linux and Windows SCAP CHECKS to test compliance standards as specified in NIST’s Special Publication 800-126.

Web App Templates (Tenable Nessus Expert only)

The following table describes the available Tenable Web App Scanning templates.

You have to download Tenable Web App Scanning in Tenable Nessus before you can use the Web App templates. For more information, see Web Application Scanning in Tenable Nessus.

Template Description
Vulnerabilities
API

A scan that checks an API for vulnerabilities. This scan analyzes RESTful APIs described via an OpenAPI (Swagger) specification file.

Web App Config Audit

A high-level scan that analyzes HTTP security headers and other externally facing configurations on a web application to determine if the application is compliant with common security industry standards.

If you create a scan using this scan template, Tenable Nessus analyzes your web application only for plugins related to security industry standards compliance.

For information about setting up and launching a Web App Config Audit scan against a web application, see the following video: Web App Config Audit Scanning in Nessus Expert 10.6.

Log4Shell

Detects the Log4Shell vulnerability (CVE-2021-44228) in Apache Log4j.

Web App Overview

A high-level preliminary scan that determines which URLs in a web application Tenable Nessus scans by default.

This scan template does not analyze the web application for active vulnerabilities. Therefore, this scan template does not offer as many plugin family options as the Scan template.

For information about setting up and launching a Web App Overview scan against a web application, see the following video: Web App Overview Scanning in Nessus Expert 10.6.

PCI

A scan that assesses web applications for compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) for PCI ASV.

Scan

A comprehensive scan that assesses web applications for a wide range of vulnerabilities.

The Scan template provides plugin family options for all active web application plugins.

If you create a scan using the Scan template, Tenable Nessus analyzes your web application for all plugins that the scanner checks for when you create a scan using the Config Audit, Overview, or SSL TLS templates, as well as additional plugins to detect specific vulnerabilities.

A scan run with this scan template provides a more detailed assessment of a web application and take longer to complete that other Tenable Web App Scanning scans.

For information about scanning a web application with the Scan template, see the following video: Web App Scan in Nessus Expert 10.6.

SSL TLS

A scan to determine if a web application uses SSL/TLS public-key encryption and, if so, how the encryption is configured.

When you create a scan using the SSL TLS template, Tenable Nessus analyzes your web application only for plugins related to SSL/TLS implementation. The scanner does not crawl URLs or assess individual pages for vulnerabilities.

For information about setting up and launching an SSL TLS scan against a web application, see the following video: Web App SSL and TLS Scanning in Nessus Expert 10.6.

Quick Scan

A high-level scan similar to the Web App Config Audit scan template that analyzes HTTP security headers and other externally facing configurations on a web application to determine if the application is compliant with common security industry standards. Does not include scheduling.

If you create a scan using the Quick Scan scan template, Tenable Nessus analyzes your web application only for plugins related to security industry standards compliance.

Agent Templates (Tenable Nessus Manager only)

There are two agent template categories in Tenable Nessus Manager:

  • VulnerabilitiesTenable recommends using vulnerability scan templates for most of your organization's standard, day-to-day scanning needs.

  • ComplianceTenable recommends using configuration scan templates to check whether host configurations are compliant with various industry standards. Compliance scans are sometimes referred to as configuration scans. For more information about the checks that compliance scans can perform, see Compliance and SCAP Settings.

The following table describes the available agent templates.

Tip: In the Tenable Nessus user interface, use the search box to find a template quickly.

Template Description
Vulnerabilities

Basic Agent Scan

Performs a full system scan that is suitable for any host. Use this template to scan an asset or assets with all of Nessus's plugins enabled. For example, you can perform an internal vulnerability scan on your organization's systems.

Advanced Agent Scan

The most configurable scan type. You can configure this scan template to match any policy. This template has the same default settings as the basic scan template, but it allows for additional configuration options.

Note: Advanced scan templates allow you to scan more deeply using custom configuration, such as faster or slower checks, but misconfigurations can cause asset outages or network saturation. Use the advanced templates with caution.

Malware Scan

Scans for malware on Windows and Unix systems.

Tenable Nessus Agent detects malware using a combined allow list and block list approach to monitor known good processes, alert on known bad processes, and identify coverage gaps between the two by flagging unknown processes for further inspection.

Agent Log4Shell

Detects the Log4Shell vulnerability (CVE-2021-44228) in Apache Log4j via local checks.

Compliance

Policy Compliance Auditing

Audits system configurations against a known baseline.

The compliance checks can audit against custom security policies, such as password complexity, system settings, or registry values on Windows operating systems. For Windows systems, the compliance audits can test for a large percentage of anything that can be described in a Windows policy file. For Unix systems, the compliance audits test for running processes, user security policy, and content of files.

SCAP and OVAL Auditing

Audits systems using SCAP and OVAL definitions.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) is a set of policies for managing vulnerabilities and policy compliance in government agencies. It relies on multiple open standards and policies, including OVAL, CVE, CVSS, CPE, and FDCC policies.

  • SCAP compliance auditing requires sending an executable to the remote host.
  • Systems running security software (for example, McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention), may block or quarantine the executable required for auditing. For those systems, you must make an exception for either the host or the executable sent.
  • When using the SCAP and OVAL Auditing template, you can perform Linux and Windows SCAP CHECKS to test compliance standards as specified in NIST’s Special Publication 800-126.