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Short for Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS, SSL Beast is an exploit first, revealed in late September 2011, that leverages weaknesses in cipher block chaining (CBC) to exploit the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. The CBC vulnerability can enable man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks against SSL in order to silently decrypt and obtain authentication tokens, providing hackers with access to the data passed between a Web server and the Web browser accessing the server.

While SSL BEAST attacks affect only the Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.0 version of SSL and not later versions such as TLS 1.1 and 1.2, TLS 1.0 remains the overwhelmingly predominant version used by both Web servers and browsers. Following a Javascript-based demonstration of the SSL BEAST attack by researchers Juliano Rizzo and Thai Duong, developers of Google Chrome and other major Web browsers started taking steps to create workarounds for mitigating the risks of SSL BEAST attacks.

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