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Apparently OpenVAS originated as a fork of Nessus. It is very easy to install and use OpenVAS because it's, well, open. However, am I kidding myself if I just use that instead of Nessus? Should I be using both, or if I use Nessus then is OpenVAS surplus to requirements?

To break it down into non-subjective sub-questions: * Is openvas a superset or subset of nessus? * Is one updated more often than the other? * Does one have a bigger vulnerability database than the other? * ...or are there other qualitative differences that I may be missing?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I personally much prefer Nessus..

It has a better feel and management, not to mention the updates offered..
Furthermore the control of nessus via updates and usage i believe is more professional because of the proprietary model. its just easier to use

OpenVAS server is a forked development of Nessus 2.2. 
The fork happened because the major development (Nessus 3) changed to a 
proprietary license model and the development of Nessus 2.2.x is practically 
closed for third party contributors. OpenVAS continues as Free Software under 
the GNU General Public License with a transparent and open development style.

Although OpenVAS was forked, since then 2008, OpenVAS has changed into something new with new features and functions not offered in Nessus..

For a simple desktop version assesment (1 user - small amounts of checking) - i would go with Nessus

However because OpenVAS is an open source product, people are saying its scanning abilities are a little further along than nessus.. ( i cant prove this, nor do i really believe it :P )

In a nutshell choose...
quicker updates -> good scanning = Nessus
slower updates -> better scanning = OpenVAS

Hope this helps :D

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Did this help??? –  Arenstar Nov 18 '10 at 13:29

OpenVAS is just the open source version of Nessus. They are nearly identical and use most of the same attack modules. So no, they should produce also the same results.

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This is definitely not true... Nessus 3 is different from Nessus 2.2... OpenVAS rewrote its fork based on Nessus 2.2... –  Arenstar Nov 17 '10 at 19:13

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