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Master the Browser Exploitation Framework (BeEF) in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

By Luke Turvey

Last updated 20 June 2024

Introduction to BeEF

BeEF, short for the Browser Exploitation Framework, is an open-source tool designed to leverage browser vulnerabilities to assess the security posture of a target environment.

Traditional security tools tend to focus on network or server-side vulnerabilities, whereas BeEF targets the client side, specifically web browsers. Who doesn't use a web browser, every day?

This approach is significant because even if a system's network or operating system is secure, vulnerabilities in a web browser can still provide an attacker with a way into the network or system.

BeEF has been around since 2006. This is a long time, so lets talk about what this powerful penetration testing tool can do in 2024.

Key Features of BeEF

  1. Client-Side Exploitation: BeEF hooks one or more web browsers and uses them as bots for launching directed command modules and further attacks from within the browser context.

  2. In-Depth Browser Analysis: BeEF provides detailed information about the hooked browsers, such as the browser type, version, installed plugins, and more.

  3. Real-World Simulation: BeEF allows ethical hackers to mimic real-world attack scenarios, helping organizations understand their risk postures better.

  4. Persistent Access: BeEF can maintain control over a hooked browser even if an IP changes, providing ongoing access to the target for further exploits.

  5. User-Friendly Interface: The web-based user interface makes it easier to manage hooked browsers and execute command modules.

Installation and Setup

BeEF can be installed on various Linux distributions and macOS. The installation process involves setting up several dependencies, including Ruby, SQLite, and Node.js. Then configuring BeEF and starting the server.

Here's a quick guide for installing BeEF on Linux or MacOS:

  1. Install dependencies: This will install ruby, as well as the bundler package that BeEF requires:

    sudo apt install ruby

    sudo gem install bundler

  2. Clone and install BeEF: This will clone the BeEF repository and install it:

    git clone https://github.com/beefproject/beef

    cd beef

    sudo ./install

  3. Setup and run BeEF: This will configure BeEF with new credentials and allow you to start the server:

    nano config.yaml - Change user and passwd under credentials:

    ./beef - Start the BeEF server:


  4. Access the Web UI: Open your browser and navigate to the IP address and port shown in the CMD above. In this case, it ishttp://


Practical Application of BeEF

Once BeEF is up and running, you can start hooking victim web browsers. You will see in your CMD after starting the BeEF server, that you have another URL, other than the UI. This will be similar to

This hook.js file is what needs to be executed by a victim browser and it is typically done by embedding the hook.js JavaScript file into a website and tricking a victim into browsing to it.

When the victims browser loads this script, it establishes a communication channel with the BeEF server, allowing the attacker to execute various commands and gather information about the browser environment.

We will leave the delivery mechanism up to you. It could simply be a website you own and trick a user into visiting. But as shown below, you will notice a blank page. This is an example Windows 11 victim host using Edge browser that has visited a local html page (which could have been sent via email or otherwise) and it simply loads the hook.js file.

Victim Browser loading hook.js:


If we now look back at the BeEF UI, the victim appears in the Online Browsers section. It is now possible to send various data gathering and exploitation commands to the browser. In the image below, we are showing a simple alert box being sent to the victim browser.

This could be used for social engineering attacks, specifically phishing.

Attack Server executing alert on victim browser


Victim browser presenting alert from BeEF server:


That's all there is to it. As you can see, it's very simple to setup and hook a victim user.

Use in Penetration Testing

BeEF is a valuable tool for penetration testers. It allows them to explore and exploit browser vulnerabilities, providing insights into potential security weaknesses. Some common uses include:

  • Stealing Cookies: Using the "Get Cookie" module to retrieve session cookies from the user's browser.

  • Social Engineering Attacks: Creating fake login pages to capture user credentials.

  • Network Attacks: Launching network attacks from within the browser context.

Defensive Security Measures

While BeEF is primarily an offensive tool, it can also be used to bolster defensive efforts. For example:

  • Phishing Simulations: Conducting phishing simulations to test an organization's response to malicious links.

  • Zero-Trust Validation: Using BeEF to validate zero-trust security models by testing internal versus external access to resources.


The Browser Exploitation Framework (BeEF) remains a powerful tool in the cybersecurity arsenal for 2024. Its ability to exploit browser vulnerabilities and provide detailed insights into the security posture of a target environment makes it indispensable for both offensive and defensive security operations.

As with any powerful tool, it is essential to use BeEF ethically and lawfully, ensuring that deployment is aligned with legal and organizational guidelines. By understanding and leveraging the capabilities of BeEF, security professionals can better protect their organizations against the ever-present threat of web-borne attacks.

For more detailed information and documentation, you can visit the BeEF GitHub repository and the official BeEF website.

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