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Xiscan - The Product
The story behind Xiscan dates back to 1997. One of our consultants was working on a client's site, configuring their Internet firewall. As he tried to concentrate his attentions on securing the device, he was persistently disturbed by the irritating squeal of a modem installed behind him. A chance remark later revealed that the modem was completely unknown to the Security Department. It had been added by a third party, entirely without the Security Department's sanction.
It was precisely at that moment that we saw the paradox: organisations spend large sums of money and expend tremendous effort to secure the publicised routes into their organisation... while completely neglecting the myriad back doors. Back doors that might be found and opened by anyone, because a modem makes them accessible through the ordinary telephone system
At the time, this discovery presented us with something of a dilemma. We could advise organisations of the risks, but couldn't quantify them properly. The only tools that were available were the tools that hackers themselves used to find these back doors: telephone scanners - often referred to as "wardiallers." These were invariably DOS-based tools that showed their hacker heritage: they were undoubtedly powerful, but were difficult to use and did not scale well. What was needed was an easy to use tool that could be used to drive lots of modems in parallel.
In early 1998 we embarked on the development of a commercial-grade telephony scanning tool, which eventually became Xiscan. We wanted a fresh approach to the problem, so from its very inception Xiscan was designed and implemented using clean-room techniques. None of the design or development team was allowed access to any of the existing (or emerging) scanning tools. Alpha release followed in December 1998, with customer demonstrations in early 1999.
Xiscan has been in continuous development ever since, with five commercial releases to date. Unlike many of our competitors (commercial and non-commercial), Xiscan remains in active development. We continue to add new and innovative features, such as the Call Analysis functionality included in version 6. (This feature alone has extended Xiscan's capabilities into the realms of inventory management and telephony capacity planning.)
Xiscan - The Company
All of the Intellectual Property in the product was transferred to Xiscan Limited in early 2002. The company itself was created by Xiscan's Technical Architect specifically to focus on developing the Xiscan product, together with the delivery of Managed Telephony Scanning Services to our customers.
Xiscan product development is still performed entirely in-house. Since 2002, we have issued five major commercial product releases of Xiscan, and made around 2,000,000 calls as part of our Managed Service offerings. Together with license sales, Xiscan is currently in use with our customers to monitor modem connectivity in over 60 countries around the world.
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