Security considerations for Azure role assignment conditions in Azure Blob Storage

To fully secure resources using Azure attribute-based access control (Azure ABAC), you must also protect the attributes used in the Azure role assignment conditions. For instance, if your condition is based on a file path, then you should beware that access can be compromised if the principal has an unrestricted permission to rename a file path.

This article describes security considerations that you should factor into your role assignment conditions.


Currently, Azure attribute-based access control (Azure ABAC) is generally available (GA) for controlling access only to Azure Blob Storage, Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, and Azure Queues using request and resource attributes in the standard storage account performance tier. It is either not available or in PREVIEW for other storage account performance tiers, resource types, and attributes. For complete feature status information of ABAC for Azure Storage, see Status of condition features in Azure Storage.

See the Supplemental Terms of Use for Microsoft Azure Previews for legal terms that apply to Azure features that are in beta, preview, or otherwise not yet released into general availability.

Use of other authorization mechanisms

Role assignment conditions are only evaluated when using Azure RBAC for authorization. These conditions can be bypassed if you allow access using alternate authorization methods:

Similarly, conditions are not evaluated when access is granted using access control lists (ACLs) in storage accounts with a hierarchical namespace (HNS).

You can prevent shared key, account-level SAS, and service-level SAS authorization by disabling shared key authorization for your storage account. Since user delegation SAS depends on Azure RBAC, role-assignment conditions are evaluated when using this method of authorization.


Role-assignment conditions are not evaluated when access is granted using ACLs with Data Lake Storage Gen2. In this case, you must plan the scope of access so it does not overlap with that granted through ACLs.

Securing storage attributes used in conditions

Blob path

When using blob path as a @Resource attribute for a condition, you should also prevent users from renaming a blob to get access to a file when using accounts that have a hierarchical namespace. For example, if you want to author a condition based on blob path, you should also restrict the user's access to the following actions:

Action Description
Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts/blobServices/containers/blobs/move/action This action allows customers to rename a file using the Path Create API.
Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts/blobServices/containers/blobs/runAsSuperUser/action This action allows access to various file system and path operations.

Blob index tags

Blob index tags are used as free-form attributes for conditions in storage. If you author any access conditions by using these tags, you must also protect the tags themselves. Specifically, the Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts/blobServices/containers/blobs/tags/write DataAction allows users to modify the tags on a storage object. You can restrict this action to prevent users from manipulating a tag key or value to gain access to unauthorized objects.

In addition, if blob index tags are used in conditions, data may be vulnerable if the data and the associated index tags are updated in separate operations. You can use @Request conditions on blob write operations to require that index tags be set in the same update operation. This approach can help secure data from the instant it's written to storage.

Tags on copied blobs

By default, blob index tags are not copied from a source blob to the destination when you use Copy Blob API or any of its variants. To preserve the scope of access for blob upon copy, you should copy the tags as well.

Tags on snapshots

Tags on blob snapshots cannot be modified. This implies that you must update the tags on a blob before taking the snapshot. If you modify the tags on a base blob, the tags on it's snapshot will continue to have their previous value.

If a tag on a base blob is modified after a snapshot is taken, the scope of access may be different for the base blob and the snapshot.

Tags on blob versions

Blob index tags aren't copied when a blob version is created through the Put Blob, Put Block List or Copy Blob APIs. You can specify tags through the header for these APIs.

Tags can be set individually on a current base blob and on each blob version. When you modify tags on a base blob, the tags on previous versions are not updated. If you want to change the scope of access for a blob and all its versions using tags, you must update the tags on each version.

Querying and filtering limitations for versions and snapshots

When using tags to query and filter blobs in a container, only the base blobs are included in the response. Blob versions or snapshots with the requested keys and values aren't included.

Roles and permissions

If you're using role assignment conditions for Azure built-in roles, you should carefully review all the permissions that the role grants to a principal.

Inherited role assignments

Role assignments can be configured for a management group, subscription, resource group, storage account, or a container, and are inherited at each level in the stated order. Azure RBAC has an additive model, so the effective permissions are the sum of role assignments at each level. If a principal has the same permission assigned to them through multiple role assignments, then access for an operation using that permission is evaluated separately for each assignment at every level.

Since conditions are implemented as conditions on role assignments, any unconditional role assignment can allow users to bypass the condition. Let's say you assign the Storage Blob Data Contributor role to a user for a storage account and on a subscription, but add a condition only to the assignment for the storage account. In this case, the user will have unrestricted access to the storage account through the role assignment at the subscription level.

That's why you should apply conditions consistently for all role assignments across a resource hierarchy.

Other considerations

Condition operations that write blobs

Many operations that write blobs require either the Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts/blobServices/containers/blobs/write or the Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts/blobServices/containers/blobs/add/action permission. Built-in roles, such as Storage Blob Data Owner and Storage Blob Data Contributor grant both permissions to a security principal.

When you define a role assignment condition on these roles, you should use identical conditions on both these permissions to ensure consistent access restrictions for write operations.

Behavior for Copy Blob and Copy Blob from URL

For the Copy Blob and Copy Blob From URL operations, @Request conditions using blob path as attribute on the Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts/blobServices/containers/blobs/tags/write action and its suboperations are evaluated only for the destination blob.

For conditions on the source blob, @Resource conditions on the Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts/blobServices/containers/blobs/tags/read action are evaluated.

See also