Greenbone Vulnerability Management

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Greenbone Vulnerability Management (GVM) is a network security scanner with associated tools like a graphical user front-end. The core component is a server with a set of network vulnerability tests (NVTs) to detect security problems in remote systems and applications. It is used by both offensive and defensive security experts to determine attack surface

GVM was previously known as Open Vulnerability Assessment System (OpenVAS). OpenVAS was a fork of Nessus, the popular corporate security scanner maintained by Tenable. Both OpenVAS and Nessus were originally built from the nmap port scanner.

This guide provides instructions on installing a complete server solution for vulnerability scanning and vulnerability management.


As mentioned above, OpenVAS with version 10 has been renamed in Greenbone Vulnerability Management (GVM-10). Also OpenVAS component's name has been renamed. The recent package naming schema can be referenced in the below table.

Old package name New package name Old package name New package name
net-analyzer/openvas net-analyzer/gvm net-analyzer/openvas-libraries net-analyzer/gvm-libs
net-analyzer/openvas-scanner net-analyzer/openvas-scanner
net-analyzer/openvas-manager net-analyzer/gvmd
net-analyzer/greenbone-security-assistant net-analyzer/greenbone-security-assistant
net-analyzer/openvas-cli net-analyzer/gvm-tools


net-analyzer/gvm is the resolver package of core GVM components and has several USE flags that may be desired for certain bigger setups. As this article aims at installing and configuring a basic GVM setup.

USE flags

USE flags for net-analyzer/gvm Greenbone Vulnerability Management, previously named OpenVAS

cli Command Line Interface for OpenVAS Scanner
cron A cron job to update GVM's vulnerability feeds daily
extras Extra fonts, pdf-results! and html docs support
gsa Greenbone Security Assistant (WebUI)
ldap Add LDAP support (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)
ospd Enable support for scanner wrappers
radius Add support for RADIUS authentication


root #emerge --ask net-analyzer/gvm



Openvas-scanner relies on Redis, which is an in-memory data structure storage system. Redis should be configured to listen to a socket. Modify /etc/redis.conf by setting:

FILE /etc/redis.conf
unixsocket /tmp/redis.sock 
unixsocketperm 700 
port 0 
#save 900 1 
#save 300 10 
#save 60 10000 
#maxmemory 64mb

Then enable and start the redis service:


root #rc-update add redis
root #rc-service redis start


root #systemctl enable redis.service
root #systemctl start redis.service

PostgreSQL backend

SQLite support will be dropped in next version of Greenbone Vulnerability Manager (gvmd-9). Therefore, the use of PostgreSQL is highly recommended.
Keep in mind that we run GVM under user and group 'gvm'. So we create a database-user named 'gvm' and database named 'gvmd'.
For creating "uuid-ossp" extension you need to compile PostgreSQL with 'uuid' use flag!. Otherwise you will get error.

Readers preferring PostgreSQL (recommended) instead of SQLite need to create user and database first then give a necessary permission to user:

root #sudo -u postgres bash
CODE PostgreSQL Operations
createuser -DRS gvm
createdb -O gvm gvmd
psql gvmd
create role dba with superuser noinherit;
grant dba to gvm;
create extension "uuid-ossp";

Network Vulnerability Tests (NVTs)

Upgrade the NVT (Network Vulnerability Tests) archives:

The following commands must be executed sequentially as the gvm user.
Verify RSYNC (TCP/873) has been enabled without NAT and Proxy to greenbone IPv6/IPv4 feed server []. SSH port 24 or 443 is only supported through the GSF (Paying Greenbone Customer) service level. Troubleshoot by checking the firewall for active connections. Due note systems sharing an external IP address many encounter issues, since one feed-sync per IP is the limit for the GCF. This can be verified by telneting to the Port 873 to test communication.
root #sudo -u gvm bash
user $greenbone-nvt-sync
user $greenbone-scapdata-sync
user $greenbone-certdata-sync

Be will take a while.

If experiencing the following error:

user $greenbone-nvt-sync
rsync: failed to connect to ( Connection refused (111)
rsync: failed to connect to (2a01:130:2000:127::d1): Network unreachable (101)
rsync error: error in socket IO (code 10) at clientserver.c(127) [Receiver=3.1.3]

Try to append --rsync or --curl options, like:

user $greenbone-nvt-sync --curl
user $greenbone-scapdata-sync --rsync
user $greenbone-certdata-sync --rsync

Now, generate the certificate for gvmd.

The certificate infrastructure enables GVM daemons to communicate in a secure manner and is used for authentication and authorization before establishing TLS connections between the daemons.

Setup the certificate automatically by running:

user $gvm-manage-certs -a

Starting Greenbone daemons

After redis configuration and Greenbone Vulnerability Feed rsync tasks completed we will start daemons.

  • Start services sequentially -> openvassd > gvmd > gsad
  • Greenbone daemons ignores SIGHUP. So restart and reload commands not work as expected.
Since Version 11 openvassd is replaced by ospd-openvas. It's an extra python tool which runs the openvas scanner.

Openvas Scanner (openvassd)

Start openvas scanner daemon:


root #rc-service openvassd start
root #rc-update add openvassd


root #systemctl start openvassd.service
root #systemctl enable openvassd.service

This will take a while, since OpenVAS here is loading all NVT definition downloaded. Check the status of openvassd that completed loading NVTs before starting gvmd:

root #ps aux | grep openvassd
openvassd: Waiting for incoming connections
openvassd: Serving /var/run/openvassd.sock

Greenbone Vulnerability Manager (gvmd)

Start Greenbone Vulnerability Manager daemon:


root #rc-service gvmd start
root #rc-update add gvmd


root #systemctl start gvmd.service
root #systemctl enable gvmd.service

This will take a while, since 'gvmd' here is rebuilding his database with all NVT definition downloaded. You will see with ```ps aux``` the gvmd process in "Syncing SCAP" state. Don't worry, after a while gvmd will load scapdata. This is normal to take long time.

Create a new user with Admin role, and take note of the generated password under user gvm:

root #sudo -u gvm bash
user $gvmd --create-user=admin --role=Admin
User created with password '18664575-7101-4ceb-8a94-429a376824e6
To change the password, substitute MyNewVeryStrongPassword with a new password:
user $gvmd --user=admin --new-password=MyNewVeryStrongPassword

Greenbone Vulnerability Assistant WebUI (gsad)

Greenbone Security Assistant (GSA) WebUI listens port 9392 default on localhost. If you wish you can configure Greenbone Security Assistant (GSAD) to listen to other interfaces rather than localhost only, so it is reachable from other hosts.

FILE /etc/conf.d/gsadOpenRC
FILE /etc/gvm/sysconfig/gsad-daemon.confSystemd

Or, in one shot:

sed -i -e "s/127\.0\.0\.1/0\.0\.0\.0/g" /etc/conf.d/gsad
CODE Systemd
sed -i -e "s/127\.0\.0\.1/0\.0\.0\.0/g" /etc/gvm/sysconfig/gsad-daemon.conf
If you prefer reverse proxying with NGINX check out the following file: /etc/openvas/gsa.nginx.reverse.proxy.example.

Start greenbone vulnerability assistant daemon:


root #rc-service gsad start
root #rc-update add gsad


root #systemctl start gsad.service
root #systemctl enable gsad.service

Open the browser at the IP address or domain name where GSAD is running, on port 9392, and login with the credentials previously created.

Happy vulnerability assessment!


Migrating version OpenVAS 9.0 to GVM-10.0

GVM-10 is a major update so updating from OpenVAS-9 is not possible but we are still able to migrate old database. If you are upgrading from OpenVAS-9 to GVM-10 before starting gvmd 8.0.1 for the first time you need to move some files to the new locations where they are expected now. If you do not do this, the files are freshly initialized and it gets more complicated to transfer the old data properly.

root #mv /etc/openvas/pwpolicy.conf /etc/gvm/
root #mv /etc/openvas/openvasmd_log.conf /etc/gvm/gvmd_log.conf
root #cp /etc/openvas/gsf-access-key /etc/gvm/
root #mv /var/lib/openvas/scap-data /var/lib/gvm/scap-data
root #mv /var/lib/openvas/cert-data /var/lib/gvm/cert-data
root #mv /var/lib/openvas/openvasmd /var/lib/gvm/gvmd
root #mv /var/lib/openvas/CA /var/lib/gvm/CA
root #mv /var/lib/openvas/private /var/lib/gvm/private


root #mv /var/lib/openvas/mgr/tasks.db /var/lib/gvm/gvmd/gvmd.db


root #sudo -u postgres bash
root #psql --command='ALTER DATABASE tasks RENAME TO gvmd;'

Migrating the database

If you have used Manager before, you might need to migrate the database to the current data model. Use this command to run the migration:

root #gvmd --migrate

Configure trusted NVTs

Sum-up: :

Trusted NVTs

"Signed NVTs are usually provided by NVT Feed Services. For example, the NVTs contained in the OpenVAS NVT Feed are signed by the "OpenVAS Transfer Integrity" key which you can find at the bottom of this page. If you have already installed OpenVAS, you can use the "greenbone-nvt-sync" command to synchronize your NVT collection with the OpenVAS NVT Feed and receive signatures for all NVTs."

Create key

You need to choose Realname, Email and a Password. Example:

root #gpg --homedir=/etc/openvas/gnupg --gen-key
Realname: openvas 
Email: openvas@localhost
Password: admin

Add a certificate to OpenVAS Scanner keyring

Add the OpenVAS scanner Integrity Key:

root #gpg --homedir=/etc/openvas/gnupg --import GBCommunitySigningKey.asc

Set trust

To mark a certificate as trusted for your purpose, you have to sign it. The preferred way is to use local signatures that remain only in the keyring of your OpenVAS Scanner installation.

To finally sign a certificate you need to know its KEY_ID. You either get it from the table at the bottom or via a "list-keys" command.

Then you can locally sign:

root #gpg --homedir=/etc/openvas/gnupg --list-keys
root #gpg --homedir=/etc/openvas/gnupg --lsign-key KEY_ID

For example, to express your trust in the OpenVAS Transfer Integrity you imported above, you could use the following command:

root #gpg --homedir=/etc/openvas/gnupg --lsign-key 0ED1E580

Before signing you should be absolutely sure that you are signing the correct certificate. You may use its fingerprint and other methods to convince yourself.

To enable NVT signing on openvassd:

CODE enable NVT signing
sed -i -e "s/nasl_no_signature_check.*/nasl_no_signature_check = no/g" /etc/openvas/openvassd.conf

As last step, restart openvassd service:

root #rc-service openvassd restart


If you encounter a problem on fresh installation , first stop greenbone daemons (openvassd,gvmd and gsad) and clear redis cache:

root #redis-cli -s /tmp/redis.sock FLUSHDB
root #redis-cli -s /tmp/redis.sock FLUSHALL

Clean pre-generated NVTs and database;

root #rm -rf /var/lib/gvm/*

Then follow the instructions again.

See Also

  • PostgreSQL — a free and open source relational database management system (RDBMS).
  • Nmap — an open source recon tool used to check for open ports, what is running on those ports, and metadata about the daemons servicing those ports.
  • Security Handbook — a step-by-step hardening guide for Gentoo Linux.