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OpenVAS stands for Open Vulnerability Assessment System and is a network security scanner with associated tools like a graphical user front-end. The core component is a server with a set of network vulnerability tests (NVTs) to detect security problems in remote systems and applications.


Install the openvas package group from the official repositories. This group provides the openvas-cli command-line omp interface and greenbone-security-assistant web interface via the gsad daemon along with other OpenVAS dependencies.

Initial setup

Create a certificate for the server, choosing the default values if desired:

# openvas-mkcert

Create a client certificate:

# openvas-mkcert-client -n -i

Update the plugins and vulnerability data:

# openvas-nvt-sync
# openvas-scapdata-sync
# openvas-certdata-sync

Start the scanner service:

# systemctl start openvas-scanner

Rebuild the database:

# openvasmd --rebuild --progress

Add an administrator user account:

# openvasmd --create-user=admin --role=Admin


Configure redis as perscribed by the OpenVAS redis configuration. In summary, amend the following to your /etc/redis.conf

unixsocket /var/lib/redis/redis.sock
port 0
timeout 0

Create and add the following to /etc/openvas/openvassd.conf

kb_location = /var/lib/redis/redis.sock

Getting Started

Start the openvasmd daemon

# openvasmd -p 9390 -a

Start the Greenbone Security Assistant WebUI (optional)

# gsad

Point your web browser to and login with your admin crendentials

Note: By default, gsad will bind to port 80. If you are already running a webserver, this will obviously cause problems. Pass the -p switch to gsad for an alternate port. Read the gsad man page for options like --http-only, --no-redirect, and more.


At the time of writing, there are no service files provided with the openvas that will maintain openvasmd or gsad. Until they are added, consider using and customizing the following service files to ease the deployment of a streamlined OpenVAS system:

$ cat /usr/lib/systemd/system/openvas-manager.service 
Description = OpenVAS Manager
Wants = openvas-scanner.service
After =

ExecStart = /usr/bin/openvasmd --foreground -p 9390 -a

WantedBy =
$ cat /usr/lib/systemd/system/gsa.service 
Description = Greenbone Security Assistant
After =

ExecStart = /usr/bin/gsad --foreground

WantedBy =
Note: --foreground is needed and not optional.

Finally, start/enable your newly created openvas-manager and gsa services in addition to openvas-scanner if you haven't already started it.

Note: openvas-manager should start immediately but will take time to load NVTs. You won't be able to start scanning until all NVTs are loaded.

Migration to new major versions

The database needs to be migrated when moving to a new major version:

# openvasmd --migrate --progress

See Also