Nessus Installation: A Guide

Nessus Installation

Installing Nessus using the Debian package manager in Mint Linux.

Nessus Installation and Setup

In the previous article, we discussed some of the features and capabilities of Nessus 5. Here we will discuss downloading and installing the program.

There are two prerequisites you must have before you begin Nessus installation, and two others that are nice to have installed beforehand to take full advantage of the add-on capabilities.

  1. The two prerequisites are the Gimp Tool Kit (GTK) and libpcap. If you installed Nmap, you should already have these programs installed. If not you can download GTK from:
    ftp.gimp.org/pub/gtk/3.12/gtk+-3.12.0.tar.xz

    and libpcap from:

    http://www.tcpdump.org/release/libpcap-1.5.3.tar.gz
  2. The two programs that are optional for Nessus installation but recommended are OpenSSL and Nmap. Nessus can use Nmap as its port scanner and OpenSSL for secure communications between the server and client.
Nessus Installation

Entering the registration code during the Nessus installation process.

It is fairly easy to download and install Nessus from Tenable’s official site at http://www.tenable.com/products/nessus/select-your-operating-system. Nessus is available for several operating systems, including:

  • Windows (XP, 2003 Server, Vista, 7 and 8)
  • Mac OS X
  • Linux
  • FreeBSD
  • Solaris

In Mint Linux, I began Nessus installation by downloading Nessus 5.2.6 from the Tenable web site (I downloaded the version for Ubuntu 9.10). When you download Nessus, you will be asked to register by providing your name and an e-mail address. Once I downloaded Nessus, I chdir-ed to the downloads directory, and at the command line, I typed:

sudo dkpg -i Nessus-5.2.6-ubuntu910_i386.deb

Within moments, the Debian package installer had unpacked and installed Nessus. Once it was done, I typed

sudo /etc/init.d/nessusd start

to start Nessus. Now the Nessus installation process can be completed by accessing the web interface via port 8834 on a web browser (using the HTTPS protocol). The first screen you’ll see upon accessing the web interface for the first time is the “Welcome to Nessus 5” screen. Click on the “Get Started” button to continue.


Next is the “Initial Account Setup” screen, where you will be asked to created an admin user and password. Fill in the relevant fields and click on the “Next” button.

The next screen is “Plugin Feed Registration”. Here, you need to enter the activation code that was e-mailed to you when you first registered. There is also a section at the bottom for “Optional Proxy Settings”. Here you can enter the proxy hostname, proxy username, and proxy password if you want to configure a proxy. Enter the activation code, configure the proxy settings (if desired), and click on the “Next” button to register your scanner.

After registration, Nessus must download the plugins from Tenable. This process may take several minutes. The plugin setup process involves transferring a considerable amount of data to the machine, verifying file integrity, and compiling them into an internal database. Once the plugins have been downloaded and compiled, the Nessus GUI will initialize and the Nessus server will start. Nessus installation is complete and you are now ready to use Nessus.

In the next article, we will go through the process of using Nessus to secure your network.

External Links:

<a href=”http://www.tenable.com/products/nessus”>Nessus home page on www.tenable.com</a>

<a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nessus_(software)”>Nessus on Wikipedia</a>

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