How to install OpenVAS on Kali Linux

It's time to cover some vulnerability scanning! What better way to start this than with the installation of OpenVAS? Today I will show you how to install OpenVAS on Kali Linux in a step-by-step guide for you to follow along.

Table of Contents

What is OpenVAS?

OpenVAS is THE open-source vulnerability scanner. OpenVAS started under the name of GNessUs, a fork of the previously open-source Nessus scanning tool (which costs you money now). OpenVAS is also under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

I personally used this software in many different kinds of assessments and was always satisfied with the results I got (keeping in mind that it is completely free).

Of course, tools like Nessus and NeXpose are more feature-rich, but they come with a high price tag too.

For starters, OpenVAS is simply perfect and gives you a good idea of how a vulnerability scanner is working. I also found it very intuitive to work with.

So without further ado, let's dive right into the installation.

I install OpenVAS on a freshly installed Kali Linux in VirtualBox. If you want to know how to install Kali on Virtual Box check out this article.

πŸš€ This guide has been completely updated in August 2022

Step 1 - Install OpenVAS on Kali Linux

The first thing we want to do is to make sure that our Kali installation is up-to-date. So open a terminal window and run:

sudo apt update && apt upgrade -y
Code language: Bash (bash)

This will update your repository and upgrade your Kali, the -y at the end saves you a press of the button "Y" in the process.

The next thing we want to do is to install OpenVAS. Again in the Terminal type:

sudo apt install openvas
Code language: Bash (bash)

Confirm that you are aware that an additional ~1,2 Gigabyte of Disk Space will be used by pressing Y.

Now this will take a good while. Grab a coffee or prepare some Yerba Mate while we are waiting πŸ™‚

Once that is done we will run another command in the terminal window:

sudo gvm-setup
Code language: Bash (bash)

This is going to take very long.

Install OpenVAS on Kali Linux

Phew... That took about 2 hours for me to finish. I still didn't get why it takes so long, but just go for a long walk and come back later...

After the setup process is finished, don't forget to note down your password that was generated at the end, you need it to log in for the first time.

Install OpenVAS on Kali Linux

Step 2 - Configuring OpenVAS

The installation is now finished. Next, we verify if our installation is working.

sudo gvm-check-setup
Code language: Bash (bash)

I got an error (SCAP DATA are missing), but if you look through the error message, you can see that you can fix it by running:

sudo runuser -u _gvm – greenbone-feed-sync – type SCAP
Code language: Bash (bash)

This fixed my issue.

First, we are starting the OpenVAS Service.

sudo gvm-start
Code language: Bash (bash)
Install OpenVAS on Kali

Now your OpenVAS Service should be up and running. OpenVAS listens on the Ports: 9390, 9391, 9392, and on Port 80. Your web browser should automatically open and lead to the OpenVAS Login Page.

If not, open a web browser manually and enter the URL
Code language: Bash (bash)

The first time you want to open this URL you will get a security warning. Click on Advanced and Add an Exception.

Log in to OpenVAS on Kali

Remember the password you noted down before? Now we are going to need it.

Forgot your Admin Password?

Reset it by typing: sudo gvmd – user=admin – new-password=passwd;

Log in to OpenVAS with admin // your password

Install OpenVAS on Kali Linux

First things first - Navigate to To your User Profile / My Settings / Click on Edit and change the password.

Change OpenVAS Password

This is basically all you need to do. OpenVAS is now running and ready for use.

Step 3 - Running your first Scan

Now it's time to run our first scan.

As this is just the installation part I won't go into details, but I will show you quickly how to run your first scan. There will be more articles covering OpenVAS and we will continue looking into all of the different options we have and how to process scan results.

So the easiest way is simply to Navigate to Scans / Tasks and click on the little Magic Wand icon and start the Task Wizard.

Install OpenVAS on Kali Linux

Now you can enter either a single IP, a whole subnet, a range of IP Addresses, or a domain.

This will start a default-depth scan. Depending on the scale of the Network you want to scan this can take from a few minutes up to several hours or even days if the network is large enough and you choose a deep scan.

This and more will be covered in the next article for OpenVAS which is coming soon.

Finding Exploits with OpenVAS

I created a video a while ago on how to find Exploits using OpenVAS, which basically goes through the whole process of scanning and then finding Exploits for your findings. The video is a bit older but still valid. Give it a watch if you want to learn how to use OpenVAS in-depth.


This is how easy it is to install OpenVAS on Kali Linux and to start a basic scan. There is a lot more to learn about OpenVAS, but this should get you up and running on no time!

20 thoughts on β€œHow to install OpenVAS on Kali Linux”

  1. Many thanks for the excellent article Stefan. I hadn't used OpenVAS in quite some time and your article really helped me get it up and running. I was stuck until you shared the gvm-setup command. I did hit one more snag. I got the following error: Failed to find config ''.

    I found the solution here: Basically, run the following commands:

    sudo runuser -u _gvm -- greenbone-nvt-sync
    sudo runuser -u _gvm -- gvmd --get-scanners
    (note your scanner id)
    sudo runuser -u _gvm -- gvmd --get-users --verbose
    (note your user id)
    sudo runuser -u _gvm -- gvmd --modify-scanner [scanner id] --value [user id]

  2. Great article and instruction for the installs. I ran into a slight problem when i try to execute "openvas-setup" after installation. System responds command not found

    "Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree... Done
    Reading state information... Done
    openvas is already the newest version (21.4.3).
    The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
    kali-wallpapers-2021.4 libaom0 libcbor0 libcodec2-0.9 libfluidsynth2
    libfmt7 libgdal29 libgdk-pixbuf-xlib-2.0-0 libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0
    libgeos3.10.1 libigdgmm11 libodbc1 libodbccr2 libqhull8.0 libvpx6
    libwireshark14 libwiretap11 libwsutil12 odbcinst odbcinst1debian2
    python3-orjson ruby-atomic ruby-thread-safe
    Use 'apt autoremove' to remove them.
    0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.

    └─# openvas-setup
    openvas-setup: command not found

  3. If you in trouble to execute openvas-setup... it will probably because the project was renamed, so instead of the 'openvas-setup' use 'gvm-setup'.

  4. Just a heads-up: The commands no longer work and 'gvm' should be used instead of 'openvas'.
    See 'The OpenVAS framework got renamed to Greenbone Vulnerability Management (GVM) and OpenVAS (now Open Vulnerability Assessment Scanner) is now only a part of it. The article should be updated to reflect this change.. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please update this to reflect recent events or newly available information. (May 2020)'

  5. Thanks for the great articles. i followed the Top Things to do after installing KaliLinux and found the link to installing OpenVAS and running the first scan. Have you added additional articles about OpenVAS? If so, can you provide the links?

  6. I got the install to run, and it LOOKS like it’s running and listening in a netstat, but I can’t hit the web interface on the localhost. The β€žsite can’t be reachedβ€œ. This is after dealing with the security warning. I just can’t get to the dashboard to login that first time.

  7. Hi If you are using Kali linux 2017.1 then installation is become a problem. to solve this follow my steps:-
    open a terminal try this command

    #apt-get update
    #apt get install openvas
    E:Unable to locate package openvas

    then follow this steps:-
    in a new terminal type
    #sudo leafpad /etc/apt/sources.list

    leaf pad will open edit and save the source list with this scripts:

    deb kali-rolling main contrib non-free
    # For source package access, uncomment the following line
    deb-src kali-rolling main contrib non-free

    deb stretch/updates main

    after save it come back to a new terminal and type

    #apt-get install openvas

    -its start installing other process is just like same


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