Nessus API Importer

Tenable's Nessus is an on premise vulnerability scanner designed to make vulnerability scanning easy and simple. Use the Nessus API Importer to ingest your Nessus vulnerability scan information into Cisco Vulnerability Management to assist you in reducing risk across your environment. The Nessus API Importer is a generic Importer designed to import data from Tenable Nessus, or 


Important: We strongly suggest using the connector with data instead of using the Nessus API Importer. The benefits of this connector include the following:

  1. Simplified configuration. The connector uses the Tenable cumulative DB. Individual scan IDs are no longer required.
  2. Improved run-time performance. During our tests, we have seen the connector run twice as fast as Nessus API Importer connector runs, when running with very similar datasets.

For information on the differences between the two connectors, please see the Nessus API Importer vs Connector Comparison Chart. If you currently use the Nessus API Importer connector today and want to migrate to use the connector, please contact your CX representative or Support for recommended approach.




User Prerequisites/Tenable Importer Connector Setup

  • Access Key & Secret Key

  • Access to the API

  • *If you are using on-premise Tenable Nessus, you will need to have the Virtual Tunnel or Kenna Agent deployed within your network.


Configuring the Tenable Importer in Cisco Vulnerability Management

Once you’ve selected the Nessus Importer from the Connectors page, the following screen will appear. 



  • Enter a name for the connector

  • Enter the Access Key & Secret Key (Username and Password will be deprecated by Tenable as announced around 09/2020) for the service account you wish to leverage.

  • Enter the Host information for your scanner. When entering the host IP and port, there is no need to prefix with https:// as it is not required (

  • Select which scans you would like to import. (The Scan List box will populate after you enter the Access and Secret Keys as well as the Host information.

  • Select the frequency at which you want to run your Nessus Importer connector

  • **If you are using Tenable Nessus, please check either “Use Kenna Virtual Tunnel” or “Use Kenna Agent” depending on which is deployed in your environment.

  • Save and Verify




What Tenable items are synced with Cisco Vulnerability Management items?

Tenable Importer Field

Cisco Vulnerability Management Field






Identifier (Vulnerability)




+'seeAlso' + ‘Related CVE IDs’ + 'Related BugTraq IDs' + 'Other Security Standard Reference IDs'

plugin_solution + plugin_output




Fix Published





Informational - 1
SeverityLow - 3
SeverityMedium - 5
SeverityHigh - 8
SeverityCritical -10

status (default = open)

Vulnerability Status

Only maps open/closed vulnerabilities. We will autoclose any vulnerability not seen on the next connector import (by the same connector).

vuln > output

Details / Synopsis





vuln > port




Last Seen



Found On




Date the vulnerability was first imported to Cisco Vulnerability Management. Not mapped to a scanner field.



















Asset Groups


All of these items are converted to tags within Cisco Vulnerability Management.


*Please note that for the XML Connector, there will not be any Tags imported. 

What Tenable items are turned into Cisco Vulnerability Management Tags?

The following metadata from Tenable will be converted into tags within Cisco Vulnerability Management. These tags can be used during search queries or to create Risk Meter groups.

  • Tags

  • Asset Groups

Vulnerability Date Information

Within Cisco Vulnerability Management you will notice several dates in the Vulnerabilities tab. When importing your Tenable data the following criteria are used to populate those date fields.

  • “Found” within Cisco Vulnerability Management is when the scanner first found the vulnerability

  • “Last Seen” within Cisco Vulnerability Management is the most recent date the Tenable scanner found the vulnerability

  • “Created” within Cisco Vulnerability Management is the date the vulnerability was first imported to Cisco Vulnerability Management


Optional Settings

The following settings can be enabled on the backend for Tenable Importer connectors. To get these settings enabled or for more information, please contact Support, or your Customer Success Engineer.

  • Incremental Imports ( only)

    • If you’d like to only import the data that has changed since the last time we’ve run the connector, please ask your CS team or Support to enable incremental imports. This will help with connector run time, as we are no longer asking for all data, but rather just the data that has changed since our last run. (Note: For the first run of a new connector, we will need to conduct a full import, even if this is enabled.)

  • Ignore Scanner Last Seen Time

    • If you do not want the asset last seen time in Cisco Vulnerability Management to be the scanner reported last seen time.

  • Skip Tags

    • This setting will allow you to NOT create any Tags within Cisco Vulnerability Management based on the Tenable Nessus Scan metadata.

  • Tenable Skip Tags

    • This setting will allow you to NOT create any Tags within Cisco Vulnerability Management based on the Scan metadata.

  • Tag Reset

    • This setting will assist in keeping your Tenable metadata in sync with Cisco Vulnerability Management. Each time the connector is run, ALL tags within Cisco Vulnerability Management will be removed and the Tenable tag metadata re-created.

    • If you have created any manual tags OR any tags were created off of metadata from other connectors that tag info will be removed and will be refreshed once those other connectors are rerun.

How Many times the Connector Tries:

  • Once you've kicked off the connector, Cisco Vulnerability Management will invoke the scan Export up to 3 times, pausing 1 second in-between each try.

  • Attempt the scan Download up to 180 times, pausing 60 seconds in-between each try.

  • If the data is not finished processing, and we are unable to download the scan report into Cisco Vulnerability Management after these tries, the connector will automatically fail and will not restart until the next scheduled connector run. A manual run can be kicked off from inside the Cisco Vulnerability Management Instance by Administrators.

API Calls:

  • …/policies

  • …/scans

  • …/scans/{scan_id}/export

  • …/scans/{scan_id}/export/{file_id}/download

  • …/scans/{scan_id}/history

  • …/assets/{asset_uuid} && fetch ‘tags'

Additional Assistance:

Please contact Support should you require any additional assistance with the Nessus Importer.



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