Security Controls

PKGS-7392 - Vulnerable packages


Lynis tests for vulnerable packages, packages with known security flaws and which already have an update available.



How to solve

Most software will sooner or later encounter a software error. These so-called bugs can make software unstable, or work differently than the programmer had intended. Some of these bugs turn out to be security related, like errors which don't properly check the input, or the amount of data stored in a temporary buffer. This is a weakness, which makes the software vulnerable for abuse.

Most Linux distributions, like Debian and Ubuntu, mark which package updates are security related. It is then the task for the system administrator to discover these as quickly as possible, and implement them. Depending on company size this can be done as an ad-hoc activity, or using a predefined software patch management process.

Lynis tests for the presence of any vulnerable packages. When it finds any, this control is triggered, with a related warning. It is marked as high impact, as each vulnerable package has a different potential for being exploited by attackers. Still you should determine the impact for your environment, and see when you want to apply the related security update.


  • apt-get update
  • apt-get upgrade


Consider using a tool like unattended-upgrade to keep the time of window for vulnerable packages as low as possible. It can be configured to automatically install security updates, while leaving normal updates for later moment of deployment.

Additional resources

Linux and Unix System Hardening

This information is provided as part of the Lynis community project. It is related to Lynis control PKGS-7392. All information should be considered as-is, without guarantees. Any advice or snippets should be tested before implementing in production environments.


Lynis is a technical security audit tool for systems running Linux, UNIX, *BSD, and macOS. It is open source software and free to use. The project has an active community, and can also be found on GitHub.

Lynis Enterprise

Need more advanced features, like vulnerability scanning, or reporting installed software packages? Lynis Enterprise will collect more data and present it with an easy to use web interface.

Gain additional benefits: automating security audits, reporting, and the implementation of related security measures.

Lynis Enterprise includes
  • Centralized management
  • Prioritized plans
  • Reporting
  • Dashboards
  • Integration (API)
  • Improvement snippets for tools like Ansible, Chef, Cfengine and Puppet

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