Arctic Wolf Appliances


Managed Risk Scanner FAQ

Updated Feb 22, 2024

Managed Risk Scanner and vScanner FAQs

This information answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Arctic Wolf® Managed Risk Scanners and vScanners. It includes information for Internal Vulnerability Assessment (IVA) scanning. For more information about Risk Scanner configuration, see Configure a scanner.

Contact your Concierge Security® Team (CST) at security@arcticwolf.com if you have questions that are not answered here.

Scanner installation and configuration FAQs

This information answers frequently asked questions about scanner installation and configuration.

Q: Where should I deploy a scanner in my network?

A: You can deploy the scanner anywhere within your network to scan any device that has layer 3 (L3) reachability. If the scanner can ping a device, it can scan that device. This includes off-site devices that are connected to your customer network through VPN.

Q: Who installs the scanner?

A: An Arctic Wolf employee or your IT staff install the scanner, depending on whether you choose the virtual machine (VM) or physical scanner.

Q: Who maintains the scanner?

A: Arctic Wolf maintains the scanner service, including regular software updates and scanner warranty, because we own the provided scanner hardware or VM software instance that enables network discovery of threats and vulnerabilities.

Q: How long does the hardware scanner installation take?

A: The physical installation takes minutes. To install the scanner hardware, install the scanner in a rack, connect an Ethernet cable, and then connect the power cord.

After you turn on the sensor power, the scanner connects to Arctic Wolf servers within minutes.

Q: What are the physical space and power requirements of the hardware scanner?

A: The physical scanner hardware is a 1RU rack-mountable server with these dimensions in inches: 1.7 high x 16.8 wide x 14.0 deep. A 200-W, low-noise AC power supply with power factor correction (PFC) powers the scanner.

Q: Does the physical scanner support scanning multiple non-routable networks?

A: No. A physical scanner has multiple hardware network ports, but the software is only configured to allow one primary network or one network interface card (NIC). Configuration with multiple, physical, non-routable networks is not supported because it would cause the scanner to become a bridge between networks that are otherwise separate, which is a violation of secure design principles.

Q: Do I need to configure the scanner?

A: The scanner can search for hosts on its network and begin scanning without configuration. You can also configure the scanner to scan or ignore other routable hosts or networks, if needed.

Q: Do I need to open a port in the firewall for the scanner?

A: The scanner, both physical and virtual, communicates with Arctic Wolf cloud infrastructure. Arctic Wolf recommends that you create a defined outbound security rule from your scanner IP address to all necessary Managed Risk Scanner IP addresses to make sure there is proper functionality. To see all the IP addresses that you must allowlist, sign in to the Arctic Wolf Unified Portal, click > Allowlist Requirements, and then view the IP addresses in the section for your product.

Q: Can I have multiple scanners for different parts of my network?

A: Yes. You can deploy multiple scanners to scan separate parts of your network, for example a co-location or remote office without direct connectivity, or other areas that you do not want to scan from the main scanner location.

Q: Can we configure our own NTP server for the scanner?

A: No. You cannot configure your own NTP server for your scanner. The scanner is configured to access a group of global, publicly available, NTP servers. This provides consistency if localized issues occur.

Q: What virtual environments are supported for the virtual scanner?

A: See Managed Risk Scanner Installation and Configuration Guide for all requirements.

Q: What kind of impact does the scanner have on the network and systems?

A: The impact of processing on the target systems is typically negligible. Some older systems, for example consumer-grade printers or network Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, may have denial of service vulnerabilities that are revealed when scanned.

The network scanner primarily uses two tools to detect hosts and conduct vulnerability scans:

Q: Can endpoint detection and response solutions interfere with the scanner?

A: Yes. Arctic Wolf recommends adding an exception for your scanner IP address to your endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution.

Scanner operation FAQs

This information answers frequently asked questions about scanner operation.

Q: What tests does the scanner perform?

A: The scanner runs network vulnerability tests (NVTs) that provide:

Q: What does the scanner do during a scan?

A: Using the provided schedules, the scanner obtains a list of targets to look for. Using the list of targets and the data from the denylist, the scanner attempts to determine if relevant machines are online by sending out Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) packets, and then monitoring for responses.

In almost all cases, the scanner runs a full scan that:

Q: What kind of devices does the scanner scan?

A: The scanner can scan all device types on a network, including networking gear like switches and routers, printers, cameras, phones. But, scanning some devices can cause unintended behaviors, including significant issues to production environments if your scanner is configured to scan specific devices. As a result, Arctic Wolf recommends scanning only workstations and servers.

Avoid scanning these devices:

Q: Does the scanner scan over IPv6 networks?

A: No. The scanner does not support scanning over IPv6 networks.

Q: Does the scanner exploit found vulnerabilities?

A: The scanner never exploits a vulnerability discovered on a host. The scanner determines if a vulnerability exists, and then drops the connection to that host or service.

The scanner runs these types of network tests:

Q: How resource-intensive is the scan on the target machine?

A: Managed Risk scans have a very low impact. Users should not notice any impact on the target machine during scanning.

Q: Should I stagger scan times based on location?

A: You can configure scans based on your preference, including location. You may prefer to perform workstation scanning during the day and server scanning overnight. Scans always run in the order that they are listed on the Risk Dashboard. See Risk Dashboard User Guide for more information.

Q: When is continuous scanning applicable or preferred?

A: Continuous scanning is applicable to IVA scanning and host-based scanning. It is a preferred method because it provides insight that point-in-time vulnerability scans do not. Continuous scanning enables continuous visibility and the immediate discovery of new devices and vulnerabilities that enter your network. Specifically, things happen in between those point-in-time scans that are missed if you are not continuously scanning.

Note: Arctic Wolf Agent scans do not use continuous scanning, but you can run these scans daily.

Q: How often are IVA discovery scans run?

A: For more information on when IVA discovery scans run, also known as Nmap scans, see Scan frequency.

Q: Are there best practices for scan schedules?

A: Arctic Wolf suggests starting scans when a member of your team is available. That way, you can add devices to your denylist or turn off scanning if a host reacts poorly to being scanned. Scanning schedules should help prevent devices from going offline or prevent scanners from overwhelming devices with HTTP requests during business hours.

Q: How long does a typical scan take for each device?

A: The scan can take up to an hour to complete, but is usually faster. Scan time depends on the number of open ports and network vulnerability tests (NVTs) that the scan runs against the host. By default, six hosts can be scanned at the same time.

Note: After four hours of scanning a single asset, scans time out and quit scanning that asset.

Q: How should I configure the scanning schedule?

A: You should only configure private internal IP addresses for the scanner to scan. Do not add anything outside of the ranges listed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_network.

Configure IP addresses for your scanner to scan if they are reserved for private networks. For example, 192.168.0.0/16. Do not configure public IP addresses for your scanner to scan. For example, 192.11.1.1.

Arctic Wolf recommends:

With the assumption that each scan takes about 16 minutes to complete per device and with 6 hosts/devices scanned by scanner at same time, this table provides estimates for how long it takes to scan a number of hosts:

Note: Scanner performance can vary based on your environment. If you are using a vScanner, the allocated resources can also affect sensor performance. This table only provides estimates.

Total hosts Minutes to scan Hours to scan
1 16 0.3
2 16 0.3
4 16 0.3
8 32 0.5
16 48 0.8
32 96 1.6
64 176 2.9
128 352 5.9
256 688 11.5
512 1376 22.9
1024 2736 45.6

Q: What is the difference between the default discovery scans, like Nmap, and a ping-only scan?

A: The default Nmap scan finds the hosts that exist, and then determines which Arctic Wolf should scan for vulnerabilities.

These are the tests performed:

For more information about ICMP echo requests and the Only ping the target toggle, see Only ping the target toggle.

Q: Does the scanner scan for or detect the SSL/TLS versions that a website supports?

A: The scanner looks for weak TLS ciphers. The scanner does not look at SSL registry information or test against failback methods.

Q: Why is the scanner failing to resolve a host name?

A: The scanner does not perform asset profiling, including host name resolution, if:

If you are seeing continued failures to resolve the name for a visible host, contact Arctic Wolf so that we can attempt manual tests on your scanner.

Note: Arctic Wolf recommends adding all DNS servers to the Host Collection DNS Servers in the Risk Dashboard.

IVA scanning FAQs

This information answers frequently asked questions about IVA scanning.

Q: Does the IVA Scanner scan for common passwords like “admin” or “password” to see if any devices have default or easily guessable passwords on them?

A: There is an option on the IVA Scanner to perform brute-force scans, where common or default usernames and passwords are attempted. Arctic Wolf limits the number of passwords attempted to the most common ones, and tailors the list based on the type of device detected to limit causing account lockouts. Additionally, Managed Risk (MR) performs Account Takeover (ATO) scans to identify instances of passwords, credentials, or other personally identifiable information (PII) that were exposed to malicious actors.

Q: If scheduled scans are configured, why are host identification scans occurring outside of the schedule?

A: Host identification scanning, or Nmap scanning, is permitted outside of the vulnerability scanning window so that it does not limit the time remaining in the scheduled window for vulnerability scans. The IVA Scanner maintains an active list of all targets, and then decides the targets and order for scanning during the scheduled vulnerability scan, based on the latest results. All other scan types occur within the schedule.

Q: How are the credentials that are used in credential scanning stored?

A: When a scanner first comes online and registers with our system, it generates a unique public/private cryptographic key pair using RSA with a 4096-bit key. Part of the registration process for the new scanner is to publish the public component of this key pair to our servers. The private key is never transmitted off of the scanner.

When a credential is added through the Risk Dashboard for credentialed scanning, the data is divided into public and private fields. Public fields include the hosts that a given credential is for, the display name of the credential that is not the username, and a comment for easy viewing on the Risk Dashboard. Private fields include usernames, passwords, certificates, keys, and any information that could be used as a component of the actual credential.

Private fields and public information are stored differently:

Q: Does vulnerability scanning work if asset identification scanning is disabled?

A: No. You must enable asset identification scanning to perform vulnerability scanning. You can make these adjustments on the Scanner Config page of the Risk Dashboard. See Risk Dashboard User Guide for more information.

Q: How long does it take to scan my environment with continuous scanning?

A: Scanner performance metrics vary based on your environment. If you are using a vScanner, the allocated resources can also affect sensor performance. Generally, the Managed Risk Scanner can scan approximately 540 devices in a 24-hour period.

Q: What happens if a scan takes longer than the scheduled scan window?

A: Scan times range from 2–200 minutes. If a scan is scheduled to a window that is too small for the scan to complete in, the scan continues until it finishes. It does not stop at the end of the scheduled window. If it did, longer scans would never complete.

For example, if you schedule a 60-minute scan window but a host would take 70 minutes to scan, the scan could not complete without exceeding the window. To avoid this, the schedules define when a scan may start, relying on the fact that the majority of scans take only 5–15 minutes to complete.

Q: Can I scan AWS or other cloud-hosted devices?

A: Various cloud providers have different policies around when and if vulnerability assessments are allowed according to their respective Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs):

Q: Can we schedule IVA scans of devices or IP addresses on a daily, monthly, or quarterly basis?

A: You can schedule IVA scans to run monthly, weekly, daily, or continuously. This frequency is configurable on a network-by-network or host-by-host basis.

Q: What is the underlying technology used for IVA scanning?

A: OpenVas is the underlying technology used for IVA scanning.

Note: Arctic Wolf uses a variety of effective cybersecurity technologies to ensure the security of our customers. As a result, underlying technologies may change over time as other technologies become available.

EVA scanning FAQs

This information answers frequently asked questions about EVA scanning.

Q: How many ports are scanned during an EVA scan?

A: The Nmap or EVA scan uses the top 1,000 common ports. See Nmap Network Scanning Overview for more information.

Q: How does the EVA Scanner determine if a host is online before performing a vulnerability scan?

A: The EVA Scanner uses the results of an initial Nmap scan to confirm that Arctic Wolf received port information, even if the ports are reportedly closed, and then proceeds with the EVA scan.

Q: How often are EVA discovery scans run?

A: Nmap discovery scans run before every scan. They occur monthly by default, but can be requested at any time.

Q: Can we schedule EVA scans of devices or IP addresses on a daily, monthly, or quarterly basis?

A: By default, we run EVA scans on a monthly basis.

Q: What are the EVA port states?

A: The table below describes the port states. See What is Port Scanning? for more information.

Port state Description
open The application is actively accepting TCP queries on this port.
closed The port is accessible but there is no application listening on it.
filtered Arctic Wolf cannot determine whether the port is open because packet filtering prevents probes from reaching the port. This could be due to a firewall, router rules, or host-based firewall software.
unknown Arctic Wolf is unable to determine if the port is open, closed, or filtered. This typically happens when a port is initially found to be open, but changes state during the scan. This can indicate interference from an intrusion prevention system (IPS) or a web application firewall (WAF). Make sure that Managed Risk Scanner IP address ranges are excluded from devices causing interference for accurate vulnerability scan results.

Scanner troubleshooting FAQs

This information answers frequently asked questions about scanner troubleshooting.

Q: Why does the scanner show results for itself in the Risk Dashboard?

A: If the scanner IP address is not added to your denylist on the Scanner Config page of the Risk Dashboard, your scanner IP address can appear in scan results in the Risk Dashboard.

Q: Why did I see a bandwidth spike during a scan?

A: Spikes in bandwidth usage may be related to:

See also