Questions & Answers

The most frequent questions and answers about us and our products at a glance. Click on the plus sign to read the answers.

Greenbone Networks was founded in 2008 by leading experts in the fields of network security and Free Software. Our goal is to develop products and concepts that help you to avoid attacks on your network infrastructure.

How? By detecting vulnerabilities faster than the attackers. We attach particular importance to a transparent White Box. Our turnkey solution is suitable for small and medium-sized companies as well as for operation in a critical Fortune-500 IT environment.

We rely on a holistic approach. Our goal is to minimize and manage risks resulting from vulnerabilities in systems. Greenbone Networks is the first provider to offer a 100 % Open Source vulnerability management solution. With this White Box solution you can avoid risks resulting from the use of a proprietary vulnerability analysis system in critical IT infrastructures.

Greenbone Networks is engaged in the global and multi-cultural Open Source communities in a cooperative manner. We act according to the concept of take and give and joint development processes in Free Software.

Our technology is available in two different versions: the Greenbone Professional Edition (GPE) and the Greenbone Cloud Services (GCS). These are turnkey solutions for network security scanning.

The Greenbone Professional Edition is available as physical or virtual appliances and is based on the Greenbone Security Manager (GSM) including the framework GVM as well as the Greenbone Operating System (GOS), which provides additional functionalities.

The Greenbone Cloud Services are a SaaS solution, where scan requests are forwarded to the Greenbone Scan Cluster (GSC) via the cloud.

Both the Greenbone Professional Edition and the Greenbone Cloud Services use the Greenbone Security Feed – our base technology. It is a permanent stream of tests to detect known and potential security problems in all active elements of your IT infrastructure: desktop PCs, servers, appliances and intelligent components such as routers or VoIP devices.

Unlike other security solutions, vulnerability management allows you to view your IT infrastructure from the outside – from the perspective of a potential attacker. The aim is to find any existing vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure. And that’s not all: our solution shows ways and processes to eliminate them. There is no other solution that can take over these functions completely.

Here you can find a Greenbone partner in your area.

Central differences between the paid subscription of the Greenbone Security Feed and the free Greenbone Community Feed can be found here.

The central differences between the appliance Greenbone Security Manager (in combination with the Greenbone Security Feed) and a self-configured GSE installation can be found here.

The Greenbone Security Manager TRIAL (GSM TRIAL) and the Greenbone Cloud Services TRIAL (GCS TRIAL) serve as a fast and free trial version of our solutions.

The short answer is: No.

For a detailed answer referencing German law, please see the German version of this FAQ entry.


Our system only scans the environment defined by the operator of the physical or virtual appliance for possible vulnerabilities. The customer defines the target and thus the infrastructure to be scanned. Only company networks and no personal data (detailed definition in our privacy policy) are checked. The resulting data remains exclusively with the operator of the appliance. No data is passed on to the manufacturer or any third party.

In addition, the environment defined by the operator can be checked for compliance guidelines using pre-configured scan configurations to ensure that all components integrated in the system meet the required specifications.

A crucial difference to antivirus systems, IDS/IPS installations and firewall solutions lies in the perspective.

The systems mentioned concentrate on the attack patterns – with the view from the inside out. In contrast, Vulnerability Management looks at the IT infrastructure from the outside to the inside – similar to the perspective of an attacker.

Penetration testing takes the same perspective. But here too, there is a significant difference: it is a concrete task to penetrate a corporate network and take control. Once this goal has been achieved, the penetration test ends and other vulnerabilities remain unnoticed. Vulnerability Management, on the other hand, is designed to find every single vulnerability.

While Vulnerability Assessment is a one-time inventory of the security situation of an IT infrastructure, Vulnerability Management improves the security level with a complete process.

Vulnerability Management drastically reduces the attack surface of a company’s IT. Furthermore, Vulnerability Management allows other IT security solutions in use (IDS/IPS and firewall) to focus on the actual hot spots: the solutions receive information about the most critical vulnerabilities. This takes place within a process that prioritizes vulnerabilities based on accepted standards (SCAP) and company-specific factors and removes or mitigates them – in line with critical business processes. Ideally, this process is part of a comprehensive IT security framework.

Vulnerability Management is an essential element of an IT security infrastructure and complements the other components.

IDS/IPS solutions – network-based, host-based or designed as Network Behaviour Analysis (NBA) – have to be set up and adjusted during setup and during ongoing operation. For an NBA it is necessary to establish a baseline (e.g., limits for port scans and login attempts, blacklists and whitelists of IP addresses and user names as well as settings for alarms).

By importing the results of vulnerability scans, you can significantly supplement and improve this tuning: the information can be used to focus the resources of an IDS/IPS and thus make better and faster decisions on the necessary action and alerting. False-positive messages are reduced.

Attacks on an IDS/IPS such as overloading the capacity or ‘blinding’ are so-called evasion techniques. Together with the difficulty of an IDS/IPS to detect slow, targeted attacks, they push these IT security solutions to their limits. Vulnerability Management offers the necessary complement, as it can significantly reduce the attack surface.