We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

How to Limit Nessus plugins to checking a single port or a short list of explicit ports.

swbruce21 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-18
Some firewalls have a real-time countermeasure blacklisting the source IP of a scan after it hits 3 or so ports.   If I know that 443 or 8080 are open and I want Nessus to check for vulnerabilities on those ports without tripping the blacklist, how can I limit Nessus to 443 and/or 8080.  Limiting the "Scanning" built into Nessus does not seem limit the ports checked by the plugins.  Other than setting up some external outbound packet filtering, is there a way to limit the Nessus plugins to a single port.  
Watch Question

Nessus may be a free utility but I imagine that its specific to whatever the software was originally intended to do.  Unless there are particular switches built into the application, you may need to contact the creator of this software.

I don't have my laptop in front of me... that is my hacking rig....
but, there is a file in nessus that details the default ports to scan... I believe it is called nessus-services.
I bet if you edit that file to only include what you want to scan, you would be good to go.
You could also use the user rules to only allow a certain nessus user to scan certain ports...
Most people never setup user rules, my self included, so you would have to research the exact rule syntax yourself....
but for sure nessus can do what you want.


I will do a test again but the scan setting only seems to control the preliminary scans, not the plugins.
There are 2 portions to a Nessus scan: portscanning and vulnerability checks.

You can limit ports scanned by going to the Scan Options tab, and entering the desired ports in Port Range (ex: 80,443,8080). To limit vulnerability check to those ports, either choose plugins for services   that run on the selected port or modify the plugins (at your own risk).  


Not the solution you were looking for? Getting a personalized solution is easy.

Ask the Experts


I guess there isn't a good answer to this question.   The plugins test ports based on their own hard-wired design,  so there is no simple way to confine all activity to a single port on the target.   ( that's my conclusion at this time - it could be wrong )
Access more of Experts Exchange with a free account
Thanks for using Experts Exchange.

Create a free account to continue.

Limited access with a free account allows you to:

  • View three pieces of content (articles, solutions, posts, and videos)
  • Ask the experts questions (counted toward content limit)
  • Customize your dashboard and profile

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.