6Scan launches free website vulnerability, malware scanning service
A commercial subscription adds automatic fixing, a Web application firewall and other features
By Lucian Constantin | Published: 14:45, 16 January 2013
6Scan, a Web security startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel, launched a new service on Tuesday that can scan websites for security issues, like vulnerabilities and malware infections, and allows their owners to automatically fix the identified problems.
The scanning part of the service can be used for free by anyone, but features like automatic vulnerability fixing and malware removal, a Web application firewall or SMS and email notifications, are only available to customers who pay a monthly subscription.
There are three pricing plans: "Basic" for US$9.99 per month, "Professional" for $29.99 per month and "Enterprise" for $49.99 per month. These are tailored for different website sizes and they differ in the number of individual website pages that will be scanned, the frequency of the scans (daily or hourly) and extra features like uptime monitoring and intrusion analytics.
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The new service extends the vulnerability scanning capabilities of the company's old product, a security extension for WordPress, to all types of websites running on Apache Web servers and also adds new features like malware detection, said Chris Weltzien, 6Scan's CEO.
Customers need to deploy a small agent script on their Web servers in order to use some of the features, including the auto-fix one. Scan results, patching options and other settings are viewed and configured through a dashboard on 6Scan's website.
For the most part, the auto-fix feature uses virtual patching, a method that doesn't actually change the website's original files, but instead intercepts all user requests and modifies them so that a known vulnerability cannot be exploited, said Nitzan Miron, co-founder and president of 6Scan. However, the agent does have the ability to modify the original files if needed, he said.
There is also a manual repair option that provides website owners with exact instructions on how to fix a vulnerability, like what code needs to be changed and how. This feature is also available to non-paying customers who use the service to scan their websites for free, Miron said.
The service uses two different vulnerability scanners. One scanner can detect generic vulnerabilities that fall into top 10 categories of Web application security risks as defined by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) - SQL injection, directory traversal, cross-site scripting and so on. The other scanner searches for known vulnerabilities in popular Web applications that were reported on websites like OSVBD (the Open Source Vulnerability Database), Packet Storm Security and others, and also vulnerabilities discovered internally by 6Scan researchers, Miron said.
The service used to detect website malware - rogue and malicious code injected into websites - is actually licensed from another industry vendor, Weltzien said. That's because, for now, 6Scan focuses on proactively detecting security issues before they get exploited to infect websites, he said.
The new 6Scan service targets the small-business market segment because small businesses don't generally have the resources to protect their websites from attacks or detect that their websites have been compromised, Weltzien said. This makes small-business websites the perfect target for many attackers, he said.