A vulnerability scanner, as its name implies, scans your network or system (such as a computer, server or router) and identifies and reports back on open ports, active Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and log-ons, not to mention operating systems, software and services that are installed and running. The scanner software compares the information it finds against known vulnerabilities in its database or a third-party database such as CVE, OVAL, OSVDB or the SANS Institute/FBI Top 20.
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