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Technology

Specialized webserver

Question Tools exam services are provided by our specialized webserver that incorporates a custom database. It can run natively on Linux, Windows and Apple OS X platforms.

  • Built from the ground up in native C++.
  • Designed for multiple-processor, multi-core machines.
  • Built-in proprietary database for speed.
  • Live database backup, with an automatic, rolling purge.
  • Implements the HTTP 1.1 protocol.
  • Supports network monitoring.
  • Does not need any external database or webserver licences.
  • No support for scripting, DLL calls or other common methods exploited in attacks.
  • Can support multiple services (for commercial hosting).
  • Native support for mirroring, to enable robust cross-data centre service delivery.

Harder to break

Automated attacks on internet-based servers occur at high frequencies. Our servers have never been successfully broken into or compromised, despite decades worth of server time (that is number of servers x years live). This is in part due to its specialized nature. A general-purpose webserver is a jack-of-all-trades. As it does many different things there are potentially many different areas that can be exploited. Question Tools' server lacks the general scripting capabilities of these servers — it is dedicated to just serving Question Tools generated content and collecting the results. When one of our servers receives many of the calls that are used to compromise general webservers it simply responds with a redirection request to a logon page or closes the connection. In short, there is simply much less for a malicious user to exploit.

Security

Support is available for SSL. In addition, at log-in the user's password is not transmitted, but is used as a private key for the creation of a cryptographic hash.


Tracking users

A Question Tools server keeps a watch on what each user is doing. It does not allow a user to log on from more than one computer at a time. Probably, more importantly, our servers do not serve files as a normal webserver might. It is simply not possible for someone to ask a Question Tools server directly for a file, such as a document with sensitive data with scores or original questions. The server has to know who you are before it will deliver anything.


Optimized for browsers

Question Tools has no web browser player or web browser plug-in, but instead uses the considerable abilities already built into modern web browsers. Web browser plug-ins are really small applications. As a result they can allow viruses (more accurately called Trojan horses) into a computer, and most well-managed networks do not allow web browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash as a consequence. The result is no open doors, no plug-ins and a happier IT department.


Supported browsers...

Continuing concerns over the security of one browser might lead some IT departments to switch to another web browser. Many web applications will only work in one browser, such as Internet Explorer. This is not true of Question Tools, which works with all of the major modern web browsers.


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