Vault admin policy


I am trying to create a policy that will essentially allow everything. Would this work:

path "*"
  capabilities = ["create", "read", "update", "delete", "list", "sudo"]


Many thanks in advance!

You’d think so, wouldn’t you? :slightly_smiling_face: But actually there is a caveat.

path "*" is very general, so has very low precedence, for picking between it and other paths in the resultant policy.

There are no other path blocks in this policy, but Vault merges all policies associated with the token and identity to come up with a resultant policy. Therefore:

Issue 1: If this policy is assigned along with other policies, those other policies may override this policy with lesser access for some paths.

Issue 2: (A special case of Issue 1) By default, Vault attaches the default policy to all tokens, unless specifically overridden. The default policy contains a selection of path blocks designed to enable basic Vault functionality. Many of these are not an issue for this use case, as they grant all of the access that is useful to have, for the path involved. One key exception though is:

# Allow a token to look up its own entity by id or name
path "identity/entity/id/{{}}" {
  capabilities = ["read"]
path "identity/entity/name/{{}}" {
  capabilities = ["read"]

which, in combination with your admin policy, overides the admin’s permissions on their own entity back to just "read".

Possible solutions are to explicitly grant full access to the individual paths overridden elsewhere, in your admin policy, or to make special settings in the relevant auth method so the admin has a way to log in without getting the default policy.

The solution of adding additional paths to the admin policy feels the least-worst option to me, as it doesn’t require the admin to log in in a different way.

1 Like

Well sadly it isn’t that simple. First the “*” in policies is not a REGEX, so that doesn’t mean it’s “everywhere” so that policy wouldn’t match everything but it does match any first level path.

With your question I’m going to assume this is not a production environment and you just want to be able to play around in your sandbox. In that case and that case only your root token has a very special policy that’ll give you access to everything. Sadly you can’t export that policy nor can you assign it to any other auth type. Now keeping this root token around is a very bad idea for security purposes but if you’re in your own sandbox that’s the better solution than creating a comprehensive root-like-policy.

@jeffsanicola has a very nice guide on Hashicorp Policies on github which you could checkout if you want to learn more than the hashicorp docs.

Hi @aram, I am afraid you are incorrect here.

Whilst you are correct about it not being a regex (* on its own is an invalid regex), path "*" does match every possible path.

This is because * matches any number of any characters, provided it appears at the end of the path, as it does here.

Matching any first level path would be path "+".