I decided to give OpenVAS as an alternative to Nessus thinking it would be pretty comparable since it is Nessus fork and the Nessus cost was too much for a small company. I used the following to install it on CentOS7.

First the requirements. They are not clearly defined on the OpenVAS page for downloading the binary packages, which I did. You need to disable SElinux. I had mine in permissive mode and it caused some problems. The rest was pretty straight forward. This uses the Atomicorp repository.

To install and perform initial configuration:

# wget -q -O – http://www.atomicorp.com/installers/atomic |sh
# yum upgrade
# yum install openvas
# openvas-setup

To stop, start and check OpenVAS services:

# systemctl stop openvas-manager
# systemctl status openvas-manager
# systemctl start openvas-manager
# systemctl status openvas-scanner
# systemctl stop openvas-scanner
# systemctl start openvas-scanner

Location of the logs:

# cd /var/log/openvas/
# tail gsad.log
# tail openvassd.log
# tail openvasmd.log

This is a very useful command to very the status of you installation. It was helpful in determining that I needed to disable SElinux:

# openvas-check-setup

This command rebuilds the database information:

# openvasmd –rebuild

As a result of not having SElinux disabled, I found that the redis (an advanced key-value store) service was not running so the OpenVAS scanner would not work properly after I rebooted. With SElinux disabled, I restarted redis.
# systemctl stop redis
# systemctl start redis
# systemctl status redis

And then to check the status:

# openvas-check-setup
openvas-check-setup 2.3.7
Test completeness and readiness of OpenVAS-8
(add ‘–v6’ or ‘–v7’ or ‘–v9’
if you want to check for another OpenVAS version)

Please report us any non-detected problems and
help us to improve this check routine:

Send us the log-file (/tmp/openvas-check-setup.log) to help analyze the problem.

Use the parameter –server to skip checks for client tools
like GSD and OpenVAS-CLI.

Step 1: Checking OpenVAS Scanner …
OK: OpenVAS Scanner is present in version 5.0.7.
OK: OpenVAS Scanner CA Certificate is present as /var/lib/openvas/CA/cacert.pem.
OK: redis-server is present in version v=3.0.7.
OK: scanner (kb_location setting) is configured properly using the redis-server socket: /tmp/redis.sock
OK: redis-server is running and listening on socket: /tmp/redis.sock.
OK: redis-server configuration is OK and redis-server is running.
OK: NVT collection in /var/lib/openvas/plugins contains 51943 NVTs.
WARNING: Signature checking of NVTs is not enabled in OpenVAS Scanner.
SUGGEST: Enable signature checking (see http://www.openvas.org/trusted-nvts.html).
OK: The NVT cache in /var/cache/openvas contains 51943 files for 51943 NVTs.
Step 2: Checking OpenVAS Manager …
OK: OpenVAS Manager is present in version 6.0.9.
OK: OpenVAS Manager client certificate is present as /var/lib/openvas/CA/clientcert.pem.
OK: OpenVAS Manager database found in /var/lib/openvas/mgr/tasks.db.
OK: Access rights for the OpenVAS Manager database are correct.
OK: sqlite3 found, extended checks of the OpenVAS Manager installation enabled.
OK: OpenVAS Manager database is at revision 146.
OK: OpenVAS Manager expects database at revision 146.
OK: Database schema is up to date.
OK: OpenVAS Manager database contains information about 51943 NVTs.
OK: At least one user exists.
OK: OpenVAS SCAP database found in /var/lib/openvas/scap-data/scap.db.
OK: OpenVAS CERT database found in /var/lib/openvas/cert-data/cert.db.
OK: xsltproc found.
Step 3: Checking user configuration …
WARNING: Your password policy is empty.
SUGGEST: Edit the /etc/openvas/pwpolicy.conf file to set a password policy.
Step 4: Checking Greenbone Security Assistant (GSA) …
OK: Greenbone Security Assistant is present in version 6.0.11.
Step 5: Checking OpenVAS CLI …
OK: OpenVAS CLI version 1.4.5.
Step 6: Checking Greenbone Security Desktop (GSD) …
SKIP: Skipping check for Greenbone Security Desktop.
Step 7: Checking if OpenVAS services are up and running …
OK: netstat found, extended checks of the OpenVAS services enabled.
OK: OpenVAS Scanner is running and listening on all interfaces.
OK: OpenVAS Scanner is listening on port 9391, which is the default port.
OK: OpenVAS Manager is running and listening on all interfaces.
OK: OpenVAS Manager is listening on port 9390, which is the default port.
OK: Greenbone Security Assistant is listening on port 80, which is the default port.
Step 8: Checking nmap installation …
WARNING: Your version of nmap is not fully supported: 6.47
SUGGEST: You should install nmap 5.51 if you plan to use the nmap NSE NVTs.
Step 10: Checking presence of optional tools …
OK: pdflatex found.
WARNING: PDF generation failed, most likely due to missing LaTeX packages. The PDF report format will not work.
SUGGEST: Install required LaTeX packages.
OK: ssh-keygen found, LSC credential generation for GNU/Linux targets is likely to work.
OK: rpm found, LSC credential package generation for RPM based targets is likely to work.
WARNING: Could not find alien binary, LSC credential package generation for DEB based targets will not work.
SUGGEST: Install alien.
OK: nsis found, LSC credential package generation for Microsoft Windows targets is likely to work.
OK: SELinux is disabled.

It seems like your OpenVAS-8 installation is OK.

If you think it is not OK, please report your observation
and help us to improve this check routine:
Please attach the log-file (/tmp/openvas-check-setup.log) to help us analyze the problem.

To update the rules or tests (Network Vulnerability Tests – NVTs), you can use the following command which is run by the setup when you run it. I believe this is the one that very clearly says that you should at most run this once a day, otherwise they will block you IP address. It looks like they usually updated once a week anyway. If so, you will get something like the following:

# openvas-nvt-sync
[i] This script synchronizes an NVT collection with the ‘OpenVAS NVT Feed’.
[i] The ‘OpenVAS NVT Feed’ is provided by ‘The OpenVAS Project’.
[i] Online information about this feed: ‘http://www.openvas.org/openvas-nvt-feed.html’.
[i] NVT dir: /var/lib/openvas/plugins
OpenVAS community feed server – http://www.openvas.org/
This service is hosted by Greenbone Networks – http://www.greenbone.net/

All transactions are logged.

If you have any questions, please use the OpenVAS mailing lists
or the OpenVAS IRC chat. See http://www.openvas.org/ for details.

By using this service you agree to our terms and conditions.

Only one sync per time, otherwise the source ip will be blocked.

[i] Feed is already current, no synchronization necessary.