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The following analytic detects the deletion of an IAM policy in AWS. It leverages AWS CloudTrail logs to identify DeletePolicy events, excluding those from AWS internal services. This activity is significant as unauthorized policy deletions can disrupt access controls and weaken security postures. If confirmed malicious, an attacker could remove critical security policies, potentially leading to privilege escalation, unauthorized access, or data exfiltration. Monitoring this behavior helps ensure that only authorized changes are made to IAM policies, maintaining the integrity and security of the AWS environment.

  • Type: Hunting
  • Product: Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security, Splunk Cloud

  • Last Updated: 2024-05-27
  • Author: Michael Haag, Splunk
  • ID: ec3a9362-92fe-11eb-99d0-acde48001122




ID Technique Tactic
T1098 Account Manipulation Persistence, Privilege Escalation
Kill Chain Phase
  • Installation
  • Exploitation
  • DE.AE
  • CIS 10
`cloudtrail` eventName=DeletePolicy (userAgent!=* 
| stats count min(_time) as firstTime max(_time) as lastTime values(requestParameters.policyArn) as policyArn by src user_arn eventName eventSource aws_account_id errorCode errorMessage userAgent eventID awsRegion userIdentity.principalId 
| `security_content_ctime(firstTime)` 
| `security_content_ctime(lastTime)` 
| `aws_iam_delete_policy_filter`


The SPL above uses the following Macros:

:information_source: aws_iam_delete_policy_filter is a empty macro by default. It allows the user to filter out any results (false positives) without editing the SPL.

Required fields

List of fields required to use this analytic.

  • _time
  • eventName
  • userAgent
  • errorCode
  • requestParameters.policyArn

How To Implement

The Splunk AWS Add-on and Splunk App for AWS is required to utilize this data. The search requires AWS CloudTrail logs.

Known False Positives

This detection will require tuning to provide high fidelity detection capabilties. Tune based on src addresses (corporate offices, VPN terminations) or by groups of users. Not every user with AWS access should have permission to delete policies (least privilege). In addition, this may be saved seperately and tuned for failed or success attempts only.

Associated Analytic Story


Risk Score Impact Confidence Message
10.0 20 50 User $user_arn$ has deleted AWS Policies from IP address $src$ by executing the following command $eventName$

:information_source: The Risk Score is calculated by the following formula: Risk Score = (Impact * Confidence/100). Initial Confidence and Impact is set by the analytic author.


Test Dataset

Replay any dataset to Splunk Enterprise by using our tool or the UI. Alternatively you can replay a dataset into a Splunk Attack Range

source | version: 2