Nessus on AWS

Nessus is a vulnerability scanner from Tenable. In this tutorial I will show how you can install Nessus on AWS (Debian), how you connect your local browser and perform a simple network scan. You need only a AWS account (eq Free Tier), SSH and a web browser.

Note: Please have a look on that page about pentesting on AWS first.

Create new EC2 instance

Login into your AWS console (or use AWSCLI), create a new SecurityGroup with SSH port 22 only (inbound) and launch a new instance. Search for “Debian”…

AWS EC2 Debian 9
Debian 9 on AWS Maretplace

Press button “Select” and finish all needed following steps (save your keys). After your EC2 instance is ready check for IP or DNS and connect.

Install Nessus

Open download page and select latest version for Debian (as I wrote this tutorial it was Nessus-8.5.1-debian6_amd64.deb). Confirm and download. Via SCP, in new terminal, you can upload the file to your EC2 instance.

Back to instance terminal … Now install and start Nessus.

Use Nessus

To make our life easier, we will create a simple SSH port-forward.

Now you can open your favourite browser with URL: https://localhost:8834.

Nessus Initialization
Initialisation of Nessus

When the initialization has been completed successfully, login and create a new scan. Select “Basic Network Scan” and add URL: http://scanme.nmap.org. Select “Basic Network Scan” and “Port scan (common ports)” for scan settings. Save and start your created scan. Please be patient, the scan will take a while.

Nessus scan
Running Nessus scan

Create a scan report

After a while, the scan is complete. Now you can create a “Custom” report. BTW … feature is only available for completed scans. So select “Export” – “Custom” and generate the report.

Nessus Report
Create custom HTML report