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AWS Identity and Access Management
User Guide

IAM JSON Policy Elements: NotAction

NotAction is an advanced policy element that explicitly matches everything except the specified list of actions. Using NotAction can result in a shorter policy by listing only a few actions that should not match, rather than including a long list of actions that will match. When using NotAction, you should keep in mind that actions specified in this element are the only actions in that are limited. This, in turn, means that all of the applicable actions or services that are not listed are allowed if you use the Allow effect, or are denied if you use the Deny effect. When you use NotAction with the Resource element, you provide scope for the policy. This is how AWS determines which actions or services are applicable. For more information, see the following example policy.

NotAction with Allow

You can use the NotAction element in a statement with "Effect": "Allow" to provide access to all of the actions in an AWS service, except for the actions specified in NotAction. You can use it with the Resource element to provide scope for the policy, limiting the allowed actions to the actions that can be performed on the specified resource.

The following example allows users to access all of the Amazon S3 actions that can be performed on any S3 resource except for deleting a bucket. This does not allow users to use the ListAllMyBuckets S3 API operation, because that action requires the "*" resource. This policy also does not allow actions in other services, because other service actions are not applicable to the S3 resources.

"Effect": "Allow", "NotAction": "s3:DeleteBucket", "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::*",

Sometimes, you might want to allow access to a large number of actions, and by using the NotAction element you effectively reverse the statement, resulting in a shorter list of actions. For example, because there are a lot of AWS services, you might want to create a policy that allows the user to do everything except access IAM actions.

The following example allows users to access every action in every AWS service except for IAM.

"Effect": "Allow", "NotAction": "iam:*", "Resource": "*"

Be careful using the NotAction element and "Effect": "Allow" in the same statement or in a different statement within a policy. NotAction matches all services and actions that are not explicitly listed or applicable to the specified resource, and could result in granting users more permissions than you intended.

NotAction with Deny

You can use the NotAction element in a statement with "Effect": "Deny" to deny access to all of the listed resources except for the actions specified in the NotAction element. This combination does not allow the listed items, but instead explicitly denies the actions not listed. You must still allow actions that you want to allow.

The following conditional example denies access to non-IAM actions if the user is not signed-in using MFA. If the user is signed-in with MFA, then the "Condition" test fails and the final "Deny" statement has no effect. Note, however, that this would not grant the user access to any actions, it would only explicitly deny all other actions except IAM actions.

"Effect": "Deny", "NotAction": "iam:*", "Resource": "*", "Condition":{ "BoolIfExists":{ "aws:MultiFactorAuthPresent": "false"}}