The Greenbone Community Edition consists of a framework with several services. It is developed as part of the commercial Greenbone Enterprise product line.

The Greenbone Community Edition was originally built as a community project named OpenVAS and is primarily developed and forwarded by Greenbone.

The architecture for the Greenbone Community Edition is grouped into three major parts:

  • Executable scanner applications that run vulnerability tests (VT) against target systems

  • Greenbone Vulnerability Management Daemon (gvmd)

  • Greenbone Security Assistant (GSA) with the Greenbone Security Assistant Daemon (gsad)

The following figure shows an overview of the architecture for the 22.4 release.

Greenbone Community Edition Architecture

Architecture in release 22.4#

The Greenbone Community Edition is released under open-source licenses. By using it, Linux distributions can create and provide the software components in the form of installation packages.

Greenbone Vulnerability Management Daemon (gvmd)#

The [Greenbone Vulnerability Management Daemon (gvmd)] – also called Greenbone Vulnerability Manager is the central service that consolidates plain vulnerability scanning into a full vulnerability management solution. gvmd controls the OpenVAS Scanner via Open Scanner Protocol (OSP).

The service itself offers the XML-based, Greenbone Management Protocol (GMP). gvmd also controls an SQL database (PostgreSQL) where all configuration and scan result data is centrally stored. Furthermore, gvmd also handles user management including permissions control with groups and roles. And finally, the service has an internal runtime system for scheduled tasks and other events.

Greenbone Security Assistant (GSA)#

The Greenbone Security Assistant (GSA) is the web interface that a user controls scans and accesses vulnerability information with. It is the main contact point for a user. It connects to gvmd via the web server Greenbone Security Assistant Daemon (gsad) to provide a full-featured web application for vulnerability management. The communication occurs using the Greenbone Management Protocol (GMP) with which the user can also communicate directly by using different tools.

OpenVAS Scanner#

The main scanner OpenVAS Scanner is a full-featured scan engine that executes Vulnerability Tests (VTs) against target systems. For this, it uses the daily updated and comprehensive feeds: the full-featured, extensive, commercial Greenbone Enterprise Feed or the free available Greenbone Community Feed.

The scanner consists of the components ospd-openvas and openvas-scanner. The OpenVAS Scanner is controlled via OSP. The OSP Daemon for the OpenVAS Scanner (ospd-openvas) communicates with gvmd via OSP: VT data is collected, scans are started and stopped, and scan results are transferred to gvmd via ospd.

Notus Scanner#

The Notus Scanner scans during every regular scan, so no user interaction is necessary. It offers better performance due to less system resource consumption and thus, faster scanning.

The Notus Scanner replaces the logic of potentially all NASL-based local security checks (LSCs). A comparison of installed software on a host against a list of known vulnerable software is done instead of running a VT script for each LSC.

The regular OpenVAS Scanner loads each NASL LSC individually and executes it one by one for every host. A single known vulnerability is then compared with the installed software. This is repeated for all LSCs.

With the Notus Scanner, the list of installed software is loaded in the same way, but is directly compared with all known vulnerable software for the operating system of the scanned host. This eliminates the need to run the LSCs because the information about the known vulnerable software is collected in one single list and not distributed in individual NASL scripts.

Additional Software#

The Greenbone Vulnerability Management Tools (gvm-tools) are a collection of tools that help with remote controlling Greenbone Community Edition installations or Greenbone Enterprise Appliances. The tools aid in accessing the communication protocols GMP (Greenbone Management Protocol) and OSP (Open Scanner Protocol).

This module is comprised of interactive and non-interactive clients. The programming language Python is supported directly for interactive scripting. But it is also possible to issue remote GMP/OSP commands without programming in Python.