words of wisdom from a systems engineer

Enabling all tests with Nessus

Nessus is one of those applications that makes me happy and drives me crazy at the same time. It does what I need it to, but it’s often hard to get it rolling when it needs to do something for me. When I run it, I run it in batch mode, which requires me to have a .nessusrc file. However, there is almost no documentation on how to create one of these files.

Luckily, a smart fellow by the name of George Theall created update-nessusrc. It’s a handy perl script that will take a basic .nessusrc file and do things with it based on the options you pass it. As I said before, I want every test enabled, so here’s the steps I performed:

First, I ran a batch scan to make a basic .nessurc file:

# nessus -xqV -T txt localhost 1241 username password targets.txt results.txt

The x skips the SSL certificate warning, q enables batch mode, V prints verbose status messages to the screen and -T txt makes the report come out in a text format.

Once it started, I pressed CTRL-C to stop it, and then I had a .nessusrc file ready to go. I downloaded update-nessusrc and ran it to enable all plugins:

# ./update-nessusrc-2.37 -ds -c "_all_" .nessusrc

The d enables debug mode (and saves the new .nessusrc to a new file name), the s prints a summary, and -c “_all_“ tells the script to enable all plugin categories. You now have a .nessurc file for use with batch scans that will utilize all of the available plugins.

If you’re lazy, you can download my pre-made .nessusrc that I made today with Nessus 3.2.1.