Top 10 Linux Vulnerability Scanners for 2024

By Eyal Katz March 5, 2024

As you step into 2024, do you have absolute confidence in the security of your Linux systems? The stakes have never been higher, and the risk landscape for Linux is constantly shifting – which presents an ongoing challenge to your system’s security. 

In 2023 alone, 282 Linux-specific vulnerabilities were added to the Known Exploited Vulnerabilities (KEV) Catalog by CISA. Employing an advanced vulnerability scanner is the next step to protecting your systems from these and other potential risks. 

Linux-specific vulnerabilities by year

What are Vulnerability Scanners in Linux?

Vulnerability scanners are sophisticated tools that methodically identify and evaluate potential security vulnerabilities in your systems and networks. They not only scan but also provide key insights for remediation. 

More specifically, vulnerability scanners designed to work with Linux environments – are adept at navigating the open-source nature of the platform. Such scanners are indispensable, given Linux’s extensive use in enterprise networks and critical infrastructure.

What are Vulnerability Scanners in Linux

Benefits of Linux Vulnerability Scanners

Vulnerability scanners offer a suite of functionalities and features that bolster the defense mechanisms of Linux systems:

Real-Time Monitoring

With real-time monitoring (RTM) and advanced Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), you can continuously scrutinize network traffic and system activities. This means quickly detecting anomalies like unusual outbound traffic or unauthorized access attempts, critical in environments like banking systems or healthcare IT.

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures

Automated Patching Capabilities

When vulnerabilities are detected, the capacity to automatically trigger patching sequences is a game-changer. This automation swiftly applies necessary fixes, easing the burden on your IT teams and keeping system maintenance smooth and up-to-date.

Customization and Configurability

Due to the uniqueness of each Linux environment,  the best vulnerability scanners provide a suite of customization options. Customization can range from setting specific scanning parameters, like depth and frequency, to choosing focus areas based on the organization’s infrastructure. 

Other benefits include

  • Detailed reporting and analysis tools
  • Integration with security infrastructure
  • Comprehensive vulnerability databases

Top 10 Linux Vulnerability Scanners for 2024

1. Lynis


Lynis is a sophisticated and nimble host-based vulnerability scanner for Linux and UNIX systems.

Main Features

  • In-Depth Security Audits – Lynis specializes in deep-dive inspections that are great for compliance testing, scrutinizing everything from network configurations to individual software components.
  •  Flexible Scan Configuration – You have the freedom to adjust scan depth, frequency, and focus areas, providing a tailored fit for the scanner with your system’s specific architecture and usage patterns.

Best For

Medium to large enterprises focused on compliance testing and security auditing. 


Lynis is available in a free version and an enterprise version. Contact Cisofy for pricing details for Lynis Enterprise. 

2. SpectralOps


SpectralOps stands out as a specialized security solution – uniquely designed to address the critical risks of secrets leakage and weak credentials management in Linux systems. Its focused approach targets the vulnerabilities often overlooked by traditional scanners, adding an essential layer of security specifically tailored to safeguard code integrity. 

Main Features

  • Uncover Blindspots – Maps and monitors hidden sensitive assets on Linux, ensuring that codebases, logs, and other intellectual property are protected from exposure in public-facing repositories.
  • Plugin Support for Linux – Offers native plugins for JAMStack, Webpack, Gatsby, Netlify, and more, allowing Linux users to scan during static builds effortlessly.

Best For

Software development companies and IT service providers handling sensitive data and looking to improve code security.


Contact SpectralOps for pricing details.


“Spectral has automatically identified and surfaced security flaws that our company was not aware of, it helped us be more secure and helped us avoid operational risks.”

3. Chkrootkit


Chkrootkit is a specialized, open-source tool tailored for Linux systems, designed to detect and identify hidden rootkits and backdoors. 

Main Features

  • Rootkit Detection – Scans for modifications in over 70 types of rootkits, identifying unauthorized system access and modifications indicative of rootkit infections.
  • Integrity Checks – Includes tools like ifpromisc.c and chklastlog.c to detect promiscuous modes and log file tampering, indicative of LKM trojans.

Best For

Small to medium-sized businesses and IT professionals in sectors like web hosting, e-commerce, and data services.


Chkrootkit is freely available to all users.


Chkrootkit is an excellent choice for those seeking a dedicated tool to enhance their Linux system’s security. Its combination of extensive rootkit detection, integrity checks, and accessibility makes it a top recommendation for businesses looking to bolster their cybersecurity defenses.

4. Rootkit Hunter

Rootkit Hunter

Rootkit Hunter, a command-line utility, specializes in detecting rootkits, backdoors, and analogous security threats within Linux environments. Although it shares a common objective with Chkrootkit, Rootkit Hunter sets itself apart through its distinct scanning methodologies and user interface.

Main Features

  • Command-Line Interface – Designed for ease of use in a command-line environment, appealing to users comfortable with CLI.
  • Email Alert System – Offers customizable email notifications for immediate alerts on suspicious activities, with adjustable settings to suit administrator preferences.

Best For

Well-suited for cybersecurity teams and system administrators within small to medium-sized companies, who prefer a command-line interface.


Rootkit Hunter is a free tool.


“Open source scanner for every kind of bad things happening in your system: backdoors, rootkits, local exploits, … Simple to use, thorough in its inspection, should be an everyday piece of work in your normal schedule.”

5. ClamAV


ClamAV stands as a flexible and open-source antivirus solution known for its proactive approach to detecting viruses, trojans, and an array of malware threats on Linux systems.

Main Features

  • Versatile File Format Support – Supports numerous file formats and signature languages. It also handles file and archive unpacking, safeguarding against archive bombs.
  • Complex Detection Routines – ClamAV’s bytecode signature runtime, powered by either LLVM or a custom bytecode interpreter, enables the creation and distribution of highly intricate detection routines. 

Best For

Educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and small to medium-sized businesses seeking a cost-effective antivirus solution.


ClamAV is a free, open-source tool.


ClamAV is a commendable choice for those in need of an effective, versatile antivirus solution for Linux systems. Its combination of broad file format support, advanced detection routines, and cost-effectiveness makes it an attractive option for educational institutions, non-profits, and small to medium-sized businesses.

6. LMD


This free and open-source malware scanner harnesses threat intelligence derived from network edge intrusion detection systems, endowing it with remarkable efficacy in pinpointing and mitigating malware threats.

Main Features

  • Real-time Threat Extraction – Actively extracts malware threats from network edge intrusion detection systems, generating signatures based on real-world threats for precise detection.
  • Advanced Signature Techniques – Employs MD5 file hash detection and HEX-based pattern matching for swift and accurate threat identification, covering both known and variant threats.

Best For

Web hosting providers, digital agencies, as well as the retail or finance industries.


LMD can be downloaded and used without any cost.


Its integration with network edge intrusion detection systems, combined with advanced signature techniques, provides a robust defense mechanism. 

7. Maltrail


Maltrail is a prominent free and open-source network security tool specifically designed to detect malicious traffic. With its real-time alerts and detailed insights, Maltrail equips Linux administrators to stay vigilant and respond swiftly to potential threats within their network environments.

Main Features

  • Malicious Traffic Detection – Efficiently identifies malicious and suspicious trails in network traffic, covering domain names, URLs, IP addresses, and HTTP User-Agent header values.
  • Flexible Deployment – Its modular architecture allows for versatile deployment options, serving as a standalone sensor or a complete system with centralized event storage and reporting.

Best For

Telecommunications, cybersecurity, and large-scale enterprise IT, where monitoring and securing network traffic is a top priority.


Maltrail is available free of charge.


Maltrail is an excellent choice for Linux administrators and IT professionals looking for a reliable and comprehensive network security solution. Its capability to detect a wide range of malicious traffic, combined with its flexible deployment options, makes it a versatile and powerful tool in safeguarding network environments. 

8. OpenVAS (Greenbone Vulnerability Management)


OpenVAS, under the umbrella of Greenbone Vulnerability Management, is a comprehensive open-source solution for vulnerability scanning and management with over 100,000 tests.

Main Features

  • Holistic Vulnerability Assessment – Conducts in-depth assessments, encompassing both authenticated and unauthenticated testing to pinpoint network weaknesses.
  • Current Security Feeds – The scanner relies on regularly updated feeds, including the paid Greenbone Security Feed (GSF) with 100,000 vulnerability tests and the free Greenbone Community Feed (GCF) with 50,000 tests, ensuring the latest threat coverage. 

Best For

Large enterprises, government organizations, and cybersecurity firms/managed security service providers that offer detailed security assessments and compliance audits.


OpenVAS is available to download for free. 


“We struggled with protecting ourselves, but Greenbone helped us think like an attacker, which made us smarter. Sort of like when police hire a profiler to get in the mind of a killer to better understand where/when he might strike again.”

9. Nessus


Nessus, a proprietary tool, is highly regarded in the field of vulnerability scanning. With an extensive library of plugins, it’s a top choice for conducting scans and compliance checks within Linux environments. 

Main Features

  • Compliance and Configuration Audits –  Over 450 pre-configured templates to swiftly identify vulnerabilities and audit configuration compliance against industry benchmarks like CIS.
  • Live Results – Feature that automatically performs an offline vulnerability assessment with each plugin update.

Best For

Medium to large-scale enterprises in sectors like finance, healthcare, and technology.


Contact Nessus for pricing details. 


“Nessus is the state of the art on automating vulnerability scans for networks and infrastructure. It has lots of customization options and can be deployed locally to make an active scan on the internal infra or through the cloud.”

10. Nikto


Nikto is an open-source tool that specializes in scanning web servers – focusing on detecting outdated software and hazardous files in web servers.

Main Features

  • Specialized for Web Servers – Scans for over 7,000 potentially harmful files, checks for outdated server components from a database of 1,250 servers, and identifies version-specific issues on 270 servers.
  • Non-Stealthy Testing – Prioritizes speed and thoroughness over stealth, providing transparent results that are easily detectable in log files or by IDS/IPS systems.

Best For

Digital marketing agencies, e-commerce businesses, and web development firms where maintaining secure and robust web server environments is critical.


Nikto is available free of charge.


Its focus on scanning for outdated software and hazardous files, combined with its comprehensive approach to testing, makes it a valuable asset in the arsenal of web security tools. 

Enhance Your Linux Security with Spectral

Navigating the complex world of Linux security can be daunting. At Spectral, your security is our top priority. We’re committed to providing you with the tools and expertise needed to keep your Linux systems safe. Don’t wait for vulnerabilities to strike. 

Try Spectral today!

Related articles

top 12 open source security solutions

Top 12 Open Source Code Security Tools

Open source software is everywhere. From your server to your fitness band. And it’s only becoming more common as over 90% of developers acknowledge using open

top 10 java vulnerabilities

Top 10 Most Common Java Vulnerabilities You Need to Prevent

It’s easy to think that our code is secure. Vulnerabilities or potential exploits are often the things we think about last. Most of the time, our

6 steps to a data breach response plan

6 Steps to Developing a Data Breach Response Plan

Experiencing a data breach is never pleasant. Just ask any of the hundreds of businesses that suffered a data breach in the past year, exposing billions

Stop leaks at the source!