For years there was only the ISS Internet Scanner, and it was truly a best of breed product. About three or four years ago, the ISS engine got so bloated that scanning a single /24 network could take hours. Tenable had a Nessus scanner for the Win platform but it also seemed fairly clunky and GFI Languard had a product but it wasn't really a competitor. The new Nessus Security Center is a really comprehensive tool for all platforms, but the back end is still *nix. The question might be, why do I need a Windows-based scanner and how come the win scanners don't work as well? I like to use Win-dee-oze and Linux for vulnerability scanning because the way they handle TCP is different. I personally think one of these platforms handles it much better, but I will leave that up to the reader. Nonetheless there is some merit in testing a platform frmo the same operating system for efficiency and effectiveness.
Currently, I am evaluating the latest Nessus against the Foundstone Scanner pictured above. McAfee is making some great strides in the security field having branched out from the anti-virus world a few years back. The Foundstone scanner has an efficient engine, and an intuitive interface. As always, results will be compared against the various scanners I have available in order to see who is the most comprehensive.
Stay tuned for some IPS comparisons in the near future between Tipping Point, McAfee, Cisco, and Juniper.