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Control Acronym



Risk Management

CMMC Level


800-171 Control #


CMMC Description

Scan for vulnerabilities in organizational systems and applications periodically and when new vulnerabilities affecting those systems and applications are identified.

CMMC Clarification

A vulnerability scanner is an application that identifies an organization’s asset vulnerabilities for which the scanner is capable of identifying. Then, the scanner creates a prioritized list of asset vulnerabilities ordered by their level of severity. The scanner also describes each vulnerability and the steps needed to fix it. Your organization should scan for vulnerabilities on all devices connected to the network. This includes servers, desktops, laptops, virtual machines, containers, firewalls, switches, and printers. All assets that have any form of connection to a wired network, Wi-Fi environment, and air-gapped labs that are associated with the CMMC assessment should be scanned. Organizations that develop custom software should perform reviews of the software. Vulnerability analysis of a custom-made solution requires an experienced penetration tester to properly test and validate findings. Automated vulnerability scanners do not necessarily perform well against custom developed applications. The vulnerability scanning process should be a regular activity. It should not be a single occurrence. Organizations should put in place a vulnerability scanner that updates its database each time it performs a scan. This means that the scan looks for the most current vulnerabilities. Schedule scans with consideration of the potential for impact to normal operations. Use caution when scanning critical assets. These assets do need to be scanned, but some scanning options could cause a denial of service against a critical asset. You could replicate the critical asset in a test environment and perform vulnerability scans against the replicated asset. The replicated asset vulnerability scan will produce valid reports that need to be applied to the production system only if the replicated system is an exact duplicate of the production system and has identical functionality in operation when being tested. Example You are in charge of IT in your organization. You look for errors in your software that may provide ways for hackers to get into your network and do harm. You perform vulnerability scans to try and find these errors. You use a vulnerability scanner application that tests all the assets connected to your network. As a result of the scan, you get a prioritized list of vulnerabilities. Because you will scan everything connected to your network, you should set up the scan to happen at night. You should also make sure that your vulnerability scanner application gets updated on a regular basis.

800-171 Description

Scan for vulnerabilities in organizational systems and applications periodically and when new vulnerabilities affecting those systems and applications are identified.

800-171 Discussion

Organizations determine the required vulnerability scanning for all system components, ensuring that potential sources of vulnerabilities such as networked printers, scanners, and copiers are not overlooked. The vulnerabilities to be scanned are readily updated as new vulnerabilities are discovered, announced, and scanning methods developed. This process ensures that potential vulnerabilities in the system are identified and addressed as quickly as possible. Vulnerability analyses for custom software applications may require additional approaches such as static analysis, dynamic analysis, binary analysis, or a hybrid of the three approaches. Organizations can employ these analysis approaches in source code reviews and in a variety of tools (e.g., static analysis tools, web-based application scanners, binary analyzers) and in source code reviews. Vulnerability scanning includes: scanning for patch levels; scanning for functions, ports, protocols, and services that should not be accessible to users or devices; and scanning for improperly configured or incorrectly operating information flow control mechanisms. To facilitate interoperability, organizations consider using products that are Security Content Automated Protocol (SCAP)-validated, scanning tools that express vulnerabilities in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) naming convention, and that employ the Open Vulnerability Assessment Language (OVAL) to determine the presence of system vulnerabilities. Sources for vulnerability information include the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) listing and the National Vulnerability Database (NVD). Security assessments, such as red team exercises, provide additional sources of potential vulnerabilities for which to scan. Organizations also consider using scanning tools that express vulnerability impact by the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS). In certain situations, the nature of the vulnerability scanning may be more intrusive or the system component that is the subject of the scanning may contain highly sensitive information. Privileged access authorization to selected system components facilitates thorough vulnerability scanning and protects the sensitive nature of such scanning. [SP 800-40] provides guidance on vulnerability management.

Other Source Discussion


CIS Control References

CIS Controls v7.1 3.1, 3.2

NIST 800-53 Control Ref.

NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4 RA-5

CMMC Derived

NIST CSF Control References

NIST 800-171 References

NIST SP 800-171 Rev 1 3.11.2

Applicable FAR Clause

NIST CSF Control Reference


CERT RMM Reference


Modification of NIST 800-171B Reference

NIST 800-171B Reference

UK NCSCCyber Reference

AS ACSC Reference


Assessment Sub-Criteria 1

RM.2.142.[a] the frequency to scan for vulnerabilities in organizational systems and applications is defined;

Assessment Sub-Criteria 2

RM.2.142.[b] vulnerability scans are performed on organizational systems with the defined frequency;

Assessment Sub-Criteria 3

RM.2.142.[c] vulnerability scans are performed on applications with the defined frequency;

Assessment Sub-Criteria 4

RM.2.142.[d] vulnerability scans are performed on organizational systems when new vulnerabilities are identified; and

Assessment Sub-Criteria 5

RM.2.142.[e] vulnerability scans are performed on applications when new vulnerabilities are identified.

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