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NopSec Cloud Security Module

Most organizations are currently migrating their computing infrastructure into the public cloud (AWS, Google, Azure) usually embracing a mixed private / public cloud model.

Most SaaS solutions, including NopSec, already base their entire computing infrastructure on public clouds.

This creates a unique challenge in terms of setting up proper vulnerability management processes to address the cloud environment’s peculiarities.

Particularly in the AWS – Amazon Web Services – environment, in order to assess vulnerabilities in the public cloud each vulnerability scan and/or penetration test needs to be cleared with AWS by filling an authorization form in advance. This creates a convoluted administrative process to authorize the scan in advance. One of the situation that AWS is trying to avoid with this is to white-list legitimate traffic in advance that transverse its internal network.

For this reason, NopSec created the Cloud Scanner so that vulnerability management could be performed on the customer’s cloud infrastructure without sending traffic through AWS’ (or other public cloud providers’) networks.

NopSec Cloud Scanner enables customers to assess their cloud environments’ security posture. Cloud agents will be launched on the target cloud instances and evaluate cloud systems against the SCAP (Security Content Automation Protocol) vulnerability content represented by OVAL (Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language) definitions without heavy network traffic that transverses the cloud providers’ network. The completed assessment will return xml-based results including software vulnerability, configuration issues, program or patch existence on any given system. This XML-based report will be then converted in an HTML / PDF human-readable report.

How NopSec Cloud Scanner works

NopSec Cloud Scanner

Figure 1. NopSec Cloud Scan workflow

How Cloud Agent works

Our Cloud Scan Agent uses an SCAP vulnerability engine to evaluate each component of the SCAP standard, which is based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) and consists of XCCDF, OVAL, Datastream, ARF, CPE, CVE, CWE.

What are OVAL Definitions?

OVAL Definition schema defines OVAL definitions, which contain system configuration information such as operation system parameters, installed software application settings, and other security relevant configuration values in XML.

The following table is description of elements, child elements, attributes and Type of OVAL definitions.


Table 1. OVAL Element Dictionary

The OVAL Schema is maintained by The MITRE Corporation and developed by the public OVAL Community. The official OVAL Repository is now hosted by CIS.  You can download oval definitions from OVAL Website  or build custom packages of content from OVALRepo.


NopSec Cloud Scanner uses customized oval definitions based on Cloud target environments. We use v5.10 including inventory, miscellaneous, patch and vulnerability and automatically update definitions on an ongoing basis.

Statistics for OVAL definitions as July 5th 2016

By Family

Statistic definition by family

Table 2. Statistics definition information by operating systems

By Class

By Class

Table 3. Statistics definition information by types

Cloud Scanner integration with UnifiedVRM

Step 1: Create a Cloud Scan Asset

In Unified VRM, Select Cloud: NopSec cloud scan will need specific asset information in order to generate customized OVAL definitions.

NopSec Cloud Scanner_Select Asset Type

Figure 1. Select Asset Type Form

Step 2: Fill out all information

 General Information to be filled in: Cloud IP address, OS, Definition file. (Required)

Name, Location: Maintain Asset Information. NopSec Analytics module will provide specific results based on asset location, name, and Operating system.

Business Risk Factor: Set a Business Risk Factor (High/Medium/Low).

NopSec Remediation will prioritize your security vulnerabilities based on your business risk factors you assigned.

Click Create

Each created cloud asset is characterized by a “little cloud” icon near the asset name.

NopSec Cloud Scanner_Asset Management

Figure 2. Create Cloud Asset Form

NopSec Cloud Scanner_Asset Information

Figure 3. Cloud Asset Information in Asset Table.

Creating Cloud Scan


You need to deploy a cloud scanner manager in your cloud in the form of NopSec maintained AMI. This is for now available through AWS. It will soon be available for Google Cloud. It will communicate back with Unified VRM for scheduling, progress checking, update definitions, and report gathering.

Click Schedule Scan

Select Schedule Cloud Scan

NopSec Cloud Scanner Internal Scan tables                        Figure 4. Internal Scan Tables

NopSec_Cloud_Scanner_Select_Scan_Type                                                                          Figure 5. Schedule Internal Scan Supported 3 Types of Select Scans.

Cloud Scan Form consists of four steps and one scan form summary page. You can move back and forward each step in order to change configurations.

Step 1. General Information

Provide a Scan Name, the date and time for when the scan should begin and if the user has requirements for recurring scans, set the scan recurrence period. Options for recurrence are Daily, Weekly and Monthly.

NopSec Cloud Scanner Step. 1 General Information                         Figure 6. Schedule Scan Step 1

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Schedule Recurring Scan                         Figure 7. Schedule Scan Step 1 with Recurrence

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Schedule Advanced Recurrence
Figure 8. Schedule Scan Step 1 with Advanced Recurrence

Step 2. Select Scanner

You will be able to check a scanner condition before you create a schedule scan when you select a scanner. (Depending on network condition, it will take few seconds)

After you built the Cloud scanner manager in your Cloud environment, you should get in touch with NopSec, which will register a new cloud scanner in Unified VRM database.

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Step 2                    Figure 9. Select Scanner Step 2

Step 3. Select Asset

Select one your cloud asset

You need to provide a login credential either in ID/Password or ID/SSH private key format.

Our cloud scanner will generate a specific definition based on the asset system information you provided and will access to your cloud system and launch a cloud scan agent.

In the initial Cloud Scanner release, since most of the cloud instances operating systems are based on various Linux OS flavors, for now the cloud scanner only supports those. Going forward we will enhance the cloud scanner to support Windows systems as well.

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Schedule Scan Step 3
Figure 10. Schedule Scan Step 3

The scan duration will vary but it will not be more than few minutes long.


Step 4. Report Generation

This will automatically generate PDF Format Vulnerability Report.

Check My Report menu, when your scan is done.

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Schedule Scan Step 4
Figure 11. Schedule Scan Step 4

Schedule Scan Summary

Your schedule scan form will be verified before the scan begins.

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Scan Summary
Figure 12. Scan Summary

Cloud Scan table

You will be able to check your scheduled scan status, your scan asset information, schedule date, and so on. Once you see status Audit Complete, it will automatically generate tickets, reports and update risk scores (Asset, Asset Group, Modules and overall Grade).

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Cloud Scan Table
Figure 13. Cloud Scan Table

Remediate Cloud Scan Vulnerabilities

After Scans have been completed, tickets will automatically be opened for the vulnerabilities discovered ranked by priority.

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Ticket Management Table
Figure 14. Cloud Scan Ticket Management Table

By Clicking on a ticket record, you can see further details on the ticket including the details on the vulnerability, associated exploits and/or malware(if it exists for that vulnerability), patch and remediation information and references. The following pictures are an example of one such ticket:

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Ticket Details
Figure 15. Ticket Details



You do not need to close individual tickets. For every scan on an asset, if the scanner detects that the vulnerability has been remediated, the corresponding ticket will be closed automatically.


Using Unified VRM’s RESTful APIs, you can establish a bi-directional workflow with their existing ticketing systems. This helps reduce the learning curve in adoption without disrupting existing workflows. You can also use “Generate External Ticket” for an importable CSV format file into their ticketing system.

Documentation on the API can be found here:

Create Cloud Scan Report and Analysis

This is a sample of a Report generated by the Cloud Scanner and its table of contents.

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Report Table

Figure 16. Cloud Scan Report Table

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Report Content

Figure 17. Report Content


Unified VRM Analytics module leverages vulnerability and tickets data from across all the modules the user has subscribed to and correlate that vulnerability and tickets information with external vulnerabilities, threats, malwares and patching feeds to provide the user actionable security intelligence. This enables you to proactively protect yourself and take action against threats and vulnerabilities before potential severe business impact would strike the organization. Using Analytics, you can close the window of exposure and significantly lower the risk by applying remediating controls to vulnerabilities rated by severity in context of your business asset classification.

NopSec Cloud Scanner - Scan Vulnerability Analytics

Figure 18. Scan Vulnerability Analytics

For more information on The NopSec Cloud Scanner contact us for a free demo.

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