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5 free network-vulnerability scanners

These 5 tools can help automate the detection and remediation of vulnerabilities, they're available at no cost, and some are upgradeable to more fully featured platforms.

One lock in a series is unlocked / weakness / vulnerability
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Though you may know and follow basic security measures on your own when installing and managing your network and websites, you'll never be able to keep up with and catch all the vulnerabilities by yourself.

Vulnerability scanners can help you automate security auditing and can play a crucial part in your IT security. They can scan your network and websites for up to thousands of different security risks, producing a prioritized list of those you should patch, describe the vulnerabilities, and give steps on how to remediate them. Some can even automate the patching process.

Though vulnerability scanners and security auditing tools can cost a fortune, there are free options as well. Some only look at specific vulnerabilities or limit how many hosts can be scanned but there are also those that offer broad IT security scanning.

  1. Nessus Essentials

Nessus Essentials, formerly Nessus Home, from Tenable allows you to scan up to 16 IP addresses at a time. The company offers a 7-day free trial of its profession edition, which can perform unlimited IP scanning and also adds compliance checks or content audits, live results, and the ability to use the Nessus virtual appliance.

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