Launching Your First Vulnerability Scan with NessusWX

Mar 2


Lew Newlin

Lew Newlin

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Discover how to set up and execute your inaugural vulnerability scan using the NessusWX client on Windows. This guide provides a step-by-step walkthrough for beginners, assuming a basic understanding of Windows and the advantages of Nessus for network security. Learn to navigate the installation, configuration, and scanning process to bolster your cybersecurity defenses.

Installation of NessusWX on Windows

Before diving into the installation process,Launching Your First Vulnerability Scan with NessusWX Articles it's important to note that NessusWX is an older client and may not be supported on newer systems. As of my knowledge cutoff in 2023, Tenable, the company behind Nessus, offers Nessus Professional and as their primary vulnerability assessment solutions. For the most up-to-date information and tools, please visit the official Tenable website.

However, if you are working with legacy systems or educational purposes, here's how you would have installed NessusWX:

  1. Download the self-extracting NessusWX installer for Intel platforms from the official site to a temporary directory.
  2. Execute the installer by double-clicking the file.
  3. Follow the installation wizard prompts, accepting the license agreement and selecting the destination folder.
  4. Choose the setup type (Binaries Only or Binaries & Source) and the program group.
  5. Complete the installation and verify the creation of a NessusWX desktop icon and Start menu listing.

Configuring NessusWX

Configuration requires details about the Nessus server you'll be connecting to. Obtain the following information from your Nessus server administrator:

  • Nessus server IP address
  • Nessus port number (default is 1241)
  • Maximum simultaneous hosts (default is 16)
  • Maximum security checks per host (default is 10)
  • Your Nessus login credentials

Adjust the NessusWX settings to match your server's configuration, ensuring that the database directory is set to a secure location, and establish a connection with the Nessus server by entering the required server and login information.

Pre-Scan Considerations

Before initiating a scan, consider the following:

  • Ensure you have the authority to perform scans.
  • Obtain written permission for the specific IP ranges you are allowed to test.
  • Be aware that scans can destabilize systems, especially if they are poorly configured.
  • Use "Safe checks" to minimize the risk of disrupting system operations.
  • Notify your intrusion detection system administrators to prevent false alarms.
  • Confirm with your ISP that vulnerability scanning is permitted and won't trigger their security systems.
  • Schedule scans to minimize impact on business operations.
  • Never scan systems without explicit authorization to avoid legal and professional consequences.

Executing Your First Scan

To start your first scan:

  1. Create a new session in NessusWX and name it appropriately.
  2. Define the target IP addresses or ranges.
  3. Configure scan options, including maximum simultaneous hosts, security checks per host, and general scan settings.
  4. Select the appropriate port range and scanners.
  5. Enable the necessary plugins for vulnerability testing.
  6. Add any relevant comments to the session settings.
  7. Save the session and execute the scan.


Take the time to familiarize yourself with NessusWX and Nessus capabilities. After patching identified vulnerabilities, rescan to ensure they have been effectively mitigated. Regular use of Nessus tools can help you identify and address system vulnerabilities proactively, staying ahead of potential threats.

For the latest in vulnerability scanning technology and best practices, always refer to the Tenable Network Security resources for the most current solutions and guidance.