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Exam Master: A Secure Online Learning and Examination System for Medical Students

Exam Master is a Web resource that provides distance learning and online examinations on a number of medical disciplines, including Family Practice, General Pediatrics, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and SPEX. The multiple choice questions, detailed explanations, and the possibility to create self-study exams are powered by the sophisticated test engine.

To avoid cheating, breaches of privacy, malware, or any other security incidents, the customer came across an idea to integrate a browser security application with the Exam Master solution. A third-party Web browser lockdown solution selected for this project would disable opening new windows, copy/pasting information, screen sharing, accessing other applications, etc.

Implementing a secure handshaking procedure between the main system and the security add-on became one of the most challenging tasks of the project. This was caused by using very specific cookies that had to be encrypted in the BF-ECB mode. To enable launching the security applications on different Web pages of the system, the team was to make some minor, yet very specific, changes to the application’s code. Since the add-on does not work in the virtualized environments, physical machines were used to test the system.

To implement a handshaking procedure, we used the encryption library and made some changes to the code. With these improvements, the new add-on does not affect the behavior of the main system. The embedded browser locks down the testing environment; this eliminates cheating and provides objective assessment of the results.

Technology Stack

Client Platform/Application Server

Unicorn

Technologies

Ruby on Rails, jQuery

Programming Language

Ruby, JavaScript

Database

MySQL

Development Environment

TextMate

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