Simple zero-setup tool to run policy check shell snippets on Debian servers via SSH
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polscan (short for "Policy Scanner")

  • Makes your DevOps server configuration/security/automation policies explicit
  • Easily detects configuration drift (Puppet 2/3/4)
  • Provides details on package updates (Debian, PHP, Gem, CVEs via debsecan)
  • Provides basic security checks (SSH, NFS, sysctl)
  • Explains policies by
    • linking references
    • having reasonable descriptions
    • suggesting quick fixes
    • referencing to security standards
  • Has zero setup, no dependencies: Bash 4.2, SSH
  • Scales up to at least 2000 hosts * 50 scanners ~ 100k findings

Policies are implemented by small shell snippets and thus polscan is easily extensible by your own specific policies. To make it easy to use it comes with host discovery solutions for typical automation setups (Chef, Puppet, MCollective).


Detecting automation issues...

Product Host Discovery Resource Coverage
Puppet2/3/4 y Mounts, Users, SSH Keys, ulimit, sysctl, sudoers, 3rd party APT repos, Crons
Chef y %
Ansible y %
SaltStack y %
Mcollective y %

Detecting package issues...

Providers Detection Upgrade Check Error Check CVE Check
apt % yes yes
dpkg % % yes yes (debsecan)
Gem yes yes
PECL yes yes
PIP yes yes
NPM no


Overview Page


Host Map per Finding Type


Visualizing Network Connections


Note: polscan is intentionally limited to Debian and for simplicity tries not to implement any distro-specific dependencies.

How to run it

polscan keeps results on a daily basis so it makes sense to set up a daily cron.

Or just run it from the source directory

./polscan                          # To re-scan all hosts
./polscan -l 'server1 server2'     # To scan specific hosts

Access Results

For simplicity all results are store in files in plain text and JSON. The JSON files are used by the static HTML viewer that can be used to inspect the result archive.

To quickly expose the static results in any webservers document root run the following commands from the directory you installed polscan into:

cp -r www /var/www/polscan
mkdir /var/www/polscan/results
ln -s /var/www/polscan/results results