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Two security analysis programs Apps
In my never ending quest to replace my other computers I use and make my OSX TiBook more than a cool machine and a full replacement of all my other machines ... I begun replacing my Linux stuff (having completed replacing my PCs). In the process, I found some really good security analysis software for OS X that I thought I would share.
  1. MacAnalysis - A really nice shareware security analysis tool that seems to be coming along nicely (IMO worth the $50 fee). It has a plug-in architecture where you can update its database automatically (a must for analysis sofware) and a really nice OS X interface. A little lite on the doc, but seems to be coming along.

  2. Nessus - This one requires a little explanation. Nessus is the open source security analysis software IMO. I would not attempt this one unless you are comfortable with the UNIX command line :). Regrettably the old version did not seem to compile on OSX even with XFree and GTK+. However with a little work, I was able to get the latest image from CVS to compile. In order to attempt it, you will need to have a X server (I suggest using fink to get the XFree rootless server), the GTK+ libraries (again, I would use Fink, makes it trivial to do), the OpenSSL libraries (it claims to be able to compile without these - it does - but I wasted most of the part of a day to try and get it to work without these and I couldn't ... save yourself the trouble). Once you have all these pieces, it compiles and works like a charm :) I would also suggest for piece of mind (and eyes) using OroborosX - this software interfaces the XFree windows and the Aqua windows so well that you sometimes forget you're using X software :).
If anyone has any good security analysis software they use on OSX, please let me know :) Always looking to expand.

[Editor's note: Although these programs can most likely be used for bad purposes, they are also important in determining whether your own network is secure or not. As such, I think it's in the general interest to make people aware of these tools. After all, if the Bad Guys know about these programs, wouldn't you like to know what vulnerabilities these progarms find on your own systems in order to close the holes?]
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Some help for building Nessus
Authored by: joelr on Jan 13, '02 10:00:31PM

Just wanted to help with a little pointer about building Nessus. We use it quite it extensively at work, it's really quite handy, and a very well done security application. At work we use the server end on FreeBSD boxes and run the NessusWX client off our Windows2000 clients. I hadn't really had a chance to try the build on Mac OS X yet so I took some time this evening to see what if any problems I would run into. Really none. It is so wonderful having BSD under Mac OS now!!

What follows is the process I used. I had some compiling warnings building the 1.1.11 [experimental] branch but no show stoppers. I built this on 10.1.2 with the Dec dev tools.

*** If you have not already done so download and build nmap, another great security tool and one that Nessus depends on. I did not already have nmap installed on the machine that I built Nessus on so I downloaded and built 2.54Beta30 and it built right out of the box.

Download the Nessus 1.1.11 pieces at:


*** Building them in the above order is important

In the directory that you downloaded the pieces too.

tar xzvf nessus-libraries-1.1.11.tar.gz
cd ./nessus-libraries
sudo make install
cd ..

tar xzvf libnasl-1.1.11.tar.gz
cd ./libnasl
sudo make install
cd ..

tar xzvf nessus-core-1.1.11.tar.gz
cd ./nessus-core

*** The --disable-gtk part is important if you don't have the X-Windows stuff
*** on your OS X box.

./configure --disable-gtk
sudo make install
cd ..

tar xzvf nessus-plugins-1.1.11.tar.gz
cd nessus-plugins
sudo make install
cd ..

That should be all you need to build it if you have a current OS X install and dev tools.

Lastly you could fashion a startup item to launch the nessusd daemon on boot if you wanted to. I didn't since I won't need it all the time. You could use any of the current
/System/Library/StartupItems as a template.

I just run as root (when I need it)

/usr/local/sbin/nessusd &

You will also need to create a user to access the nessusd daemon.


Since we didn't build in any of the GTK stuff only the command line client works on OS X.


use the --help option for more details. This may be heresy on a Mac OS site but if you have access to a Windows PC that has network access to the Mac OS box that you are running the nessusd daemon on take a look at the NessusWX windows client.

As a side note, for someone with more determination and time on their hands then me, the nessus command line client might provide someone with the basis for an excellent AppleScript Studio project. I would love to use a Mac OS X client that was a smooth as the NessusWX Windows client.

Good luck,

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