How To Test Your Linux Server For Vulnerabilities

In this age of information, it is more important than ever to protect your systems and data. However, even the most secure system in the world can still be vulnerable to attacks if not adequately protected. One common way to make sure that your server is up-to-snuff with its security is to test it for vulnerabilities.

Servers come with a particular operating system, and each system has its own set of advantages, disadvantages, and risks. There are many different ways to test for these risks, some automated and some manual.

In this article, we will discuss the various tools and methods you can use to test your Linux server for vulnerabilities and how to fix any issues that are found.

How to Keep Your Linux Server Safe

Linux is an excellent platform for servers, offering advanced security features and more control over the system than many alternatives. However, Linux servers can still be vulnerable to malware and viruses, as with any operating system.

First of all, you should keep your server up to date. Linux distributions often release security updates to address vulnerabilities that have been discovered. It is essential to install these updates as soon as they are released in order to keep your server safe from attack.

Another important step is to use a good malware and vulnerability detector. There are many good programs for Linux that can detect and prevent malware from infecting your server.

You should also take steps to secure your server’s web applications. Many attacks occur through vulnerabilities in web applications, so it is important to make sure that your applications are properly secured. You can do this by using strong passwords, disabling unnecessary features, and installing security patches when they become available.

You should also take steps to protect your server from unauthorized access. You can do this by setting up strong passwords and using firewalls to block unwanted traffic.

Finally, you should regularly back up your data in a secure location. This will help ensure that if your server is infected with malware or viruses, you will still have a copy of your data safe and sound.

Now that we’ve discussed the different ways you can protect your Linux server from threats and vulnerabilities, let’s now take a look at some of the most well-known vulnerability detectors for Linux servers.


OpenVAS (Open Vulnerability Assessment Scanner), from one of the world’s most widely-used open source vulnerability management providers, Greenbone, is a popular vulnerability scanning tool that can be used to scan Linux systems for vulnerabilities.

As of its latest version, OpenVAS’ capabilities include authenticated and unauthenticated testing, high-level and low-level internet security protocols, performance tuning, and a powerful internal programming language of its own.

OpenVAS has continuously been developed and operated by Greenbone Networks since 2006 as part of its commercial suite of vulnerability management software.


YARA (Yet Another Ridiculous Acronym) is an essential malware and vulnerability research/detection tool originally developed by Victor Alvarez and released for the public on GitHub in 2013.

Making use of textual and binary patterns commonly found in malicious programs and content, YARA’s vulnerability detection capabilities are surprisingly quick and efficient.

YARA is available for free and is compatible with the three most popular operating systems, Windows, macOS, and of course, Linux.

Linux Malware Detect

Linux Malware Detect (LMD or Maldet) is an exclusive software package for Linux systems and servers that detects and reports malicious software and content. LMD is open source and free to use. It can also be used to scan for both known and unknown malware.

Systems like Linux Malware Detect make use of existing signatures that act as sort of like markers for potentially malicious content. LMD scans for these signatures through different sources and databases that have information about thousands of different malware signatures.

In addition to the many available databases for LMD, it also makes use of its own local signature database that actively learns as it continues to detect and report malicious content.


Lynis is an open-source security auditing tool that can be used to test Linux systems for vulnerabilities. It is a command-line tool that can be run on a variety of systems, including Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, and Fedora.

Lynis performs a variety of tests, including checking for installed software and hardware, looking for weak passwords, and scanning for known vulnerabilities. In addition to malware and vulnerability detection, Lynis is also capable of suggesting the best course of action for the vulnerabilities found.

This tool is perfect for both small and large-scale servers hosted by either individuals or large corporations, respectively. Lynis also keeps a tidy log of all system scans and any vulnerabilities so you can review what needs to be done to make your system more secure.


Rkhunter (Rootkit Hunter) is a popular open-source unix-based tool that can be used to scan for rootkits, backdoors, and other malicious software. The tool is available as a package in most Linux distributions’ repositories, or it can be downloaded from the project’s website.

Rkhunter compares database records of clean and safe systems with its detection tool. The system will immediately flag any suspicious content or programs. What makes this tool great is that it makes sure to do a thorough scan of a server or system’s directory, even including hidden files that would have normally been overlooked by other tools.

Final Thoughts

Although less susceptible to malware and vulnerabilities than Windows-based systems, Linux-based servers are still vulnerable to various types of attacks. However, there are many ways to protect them from vulnerabilities.

There are plenty of free and open-source tools available online to detect possible vulnerabilities in your Linux server. The only thing you need to do is to choose the perfect tool for your system and make necessary changes according to the results you find.

By following the tips in this article and making use of vulnerability detection tools, you can make your Linux server much more secure and less vulnerable to attacks.

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