I have volumes mounted on EC2 instances of which I would like to make snapshots.

I created a new IAM user with the following policy:

  "Statement": [
      "Sid": "...",
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": [
      "Resource": [

I have added the access key and secret to my ~/.bashrc and sourced it. When I run ec2-describe-snapshots I get this response: Client.UnauthorizedOperation: You are not authorized to perform this operation.

When my "Resource" was just "*" I was able to list all types of Amazon's snapshots. I am looking to create snapshots owned by/visible to just me in the eu-west-1 region.


As wisely posted at How can I limit EC2 describe images permissions, resource level permissions are not implemented at all on ec2:Describe* actions.

In Reality you need to limit access based on other things and not the resource ARN.

  • 1
    I see! Well I tried directly just creating a snapshot with the same policy but I still encountered an error. I changed my Resource to * again and I was able to create the snapshot. Can I assume that the snapshots will always be created as private to my account? – juuga Jun 10 '14 at 12:42
  • By default yes. The snapshots are private unless set to public – zeridon Jun 10 '14 at 12:57

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