A network vulnerability scanner is one of the most important tools in your cybersecurity toolbox. This type of software is designed to scan a network for potential security threats, including weak passwords, open ports, and unpatched software. Both individuals and businesses can use network vulnerability scanners to secure their networks and protect against attacks. Scanning for known weaknesses, such as open ports or unpatched software, can help identify areas where an attacker might be able to gain access.

While it is not possible to completely eliminate all risks, using a vulnerability scanner can help to reduce the chances of a successful attack. In addition, they can also be used to monitor networks for changes, which can help identify and respond to new threats quickly. This makes having a network vulnerability scanner one of the best network security practices.

The good thing with network vulnerability scanners is that they can be used in conjunction with other security measures such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems. And while there are many different types of network vulnerability scanners available, they all share the same goal of helping to keep networks safe. So, how can you use a network vulnerability scanner to keep your systems safe? 

Determine the scope of the scan

The first step in using a network vulnerability scanner is to determine the scope of the scan. This means deciding which systems and networks will be scanned. It is important to include all systems connected to the network and any systems that may access sensitive data. Once you have determined the scope of the scan, you can then choose which type of scanner to use.

Select a scanner

There are many different network scanners available, so it is important to select one that meets your specific needs. If you are only interested in scanning for basic threats, then a free or open-source scanner might be good. However, a commercial scanner might be better if you need more comprehensive protection.

It is also important to consider the features of the scanner before making a decision. Some scanners only look for common vulnerabilities, while others include more advanced features such as intrusion detection or malware protection. 

Important features to look for choosing a network vulnerability scanner:

  • Automation – one of the most important features of a network vulnerability scanner is automation. This feature allows the scanner to automatically scan systems and networks regularly. This can help to ensure that new threats are quickly identified and remediated.
  • Comprehensive scanning – another important feature to look for is comprehensive scanning. This means that the scanner should be able to identify a wide range of vulnerabilities, including both common and rare ones. By having a comprehensive scanner, you can ensure that all potential threats are identified and addressed.
  • Easy-to-use interface – this is another critical feature to consider when choosing a network vulnerability scanner. A good scanner should have an easy-to-use interface that makes it simple to set up scans and view results. It should also include detailed instructions on interpreting results and taking action to remediate vulnerabilities.
  • Flexibility – also, it’s important to look for flexibility when choosing a network vulnerability scanner. A good scanner should be able to scan both small and large networks. It should also be able to scan different types of devices, including PCs, servers, and routers. 
  • Customer support – finally, it is essential to choose a scanner that comes with customer support. If you have any questions or problems, you can get help from someone familiar with the product.

Configure the scanner

Once you have selected a scanner, you will need to configure it before using it. This process will vary depending on the scanner you use, but it is generally straightforward. To configure your scanner, you need to select the type of scan that will be performed.

There are three main types of scans: full port scans, quick scans, and safe scans. Full port scans are the most comprehensive but also the most time-consuming. Quick scans provide a good overview of a network’s security, while safe scans make minimal changes to settings and are ideal for networks that are not well-understood. Once the type of scan has been selected, the next step is to specify which ports will be scanned.

By default, most scanners will scan all ports, but this can be time-consuming and may cause disruptions on live networks. It is often best to specify only those ports that are known to be vulnerable. Finally, it is important to select the level of detail that will be included in the scan report. In most cases, a summary report is sufficient, but more detailed reports can be useful for troubleshooting purposes. With these steps completed, the scanner can now be run and will begin identifying potential security risks.

Interpret the results

After the scanner has finished running, you will need to interpret the results. This can be a daunting task, as the results often include many potential vulnerabilities. However, it is important to review each one and determine if it poses a real risk to your network. To do this, you can use information such as the CVSS score or the sensitivity of the data that is at risk. You can then take the needed steps to mitigate any risks that are identified after reviewing the results


You can use network vulnerability scanners to secure your systems and protect against attacks by following these steps. By scanning for known weaknesses and monitoring for changes, you can quickly identify and respond to new threats. This makes network vulnerability scanners an essential tool for keeping networks safe.

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