About OpenVAS Software
The Open Vulnerability Assessment System (OpenVAS) is a framework of several services and tools. The core of this SSL-secured service-oriented architecture is the OpenVAS Scanner. The scanner very efficiently executes the actual Network Vulnerability Tests (NVTs) which are served with daily updates via the OpenVAS NVT Feed or via a commercial feed service.
The OpenVAS Manager is the central service that consolidates plain vulnerability scanning into a full vulnerability management solution. The Manager controls the Scanner via OTP (OpenVAS Transfer Protocol) and itself offers the XML-based, stateless OpenVAS Management Protocol (OMP). All intelligence is implemented in the Manager so that it is possible to implement various lean clients that will behave consistently e.g. with regard to filtering or sorting scan results. The Manager also controls a SQL database (sqlite-based) where all configuration and scan result data is centrally stored. Finally, Manager also handles user management includiung access control with groups and roles.
Different OMP clients are available: The Greenbone Security Assistant (GSA) is a lean web service offering a user interface for web browsers. GSA uses XSL transformation stylesheet that converts OMP responses into HTML.
OpenVAS CLI contains the command line tool "omp" which allows to create batch processes to drive OpenVAS Manager. Another tool of this package is a Nagios plugin.
Most of the tools listed above share functionality that is aggregated in the OpenVAS Libraries.
The OpenVAS Scanner offers the communication protocol OTP (OpenVAS Transfer Protocol) which allows to control the scan execution. This protocol is subject to be eventually replaced and thus it is not recommended to develop OTP clients.
Many target hosts are scanned concurrently
OpenVAS Transfer Protocol (OTP)
SSL support for OTP (always)
WMI support (optional)
OpenVAS Management Protocol (OMP)
SQL Database (sqlite) for configurations and scan results
SSL support for OMP (always)
Many concurrent scans tasks (many OpenVAS Scanners)
Notes management for scan results
False Positive management for scan results
Flexible escalators upon status of a scan task
Stop, Pause and Resume of scan tasks
Master-Slave Mode to control many instances from a central one
Reports Format Plugin Framework with various plugins for: XML, HTML, LateX, etc.
Feed status view
Greenbone Security Assistant (GSA)
Client for OMP and OAP
HTTP and HTTPS
Web server on its own (microhttpd), thus no extra web server required
Integrated online-help system
Client for OMP
Runs on Windows, Linux, etc.
Plugin for Nagios
Standards and Interoperability
OpenVAS is a official OVAL Adopter and OpenVAS-5 registered as "Systems Characteristics Producer".
See here for the official entry at MITRE: OVAL Adoption Participant OpenVAS
See also: OVAL Adoption Program
Examples for usage are available here: Greenbone Learning Center on OVAL-SC