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Writing Custom Rego Policies

tfsec has the capability to apply user-defined Rego policies.

This is a useful feature if your organisation needs to implement custom security policies on top of avoid other misconfigurations and enforcing best practice guidelines.

Example Policy


import data.lib.defsec

deny[res] {
    bucket :=[_] == "insecure-bucket"
    msg := "Bucket name should not be 'insecure-bucket'"
    res := defsec.result(msg,

Let's break this down.

The package (line #1) must always start with the custom namespace in order for tfsec to recognise it. The rest of the package name can be whatever you like, but it's generally a good idea to break things down by cloud provider, service, environment etc.

The name of the deny rule is important. Rule names must either be deny, or begin with deny_ in order to highlight an issue when tfsec runs.

The input variable contains cloud resources organised by provider (e.g aws), and then service (e.g. s3). You can see what this looks like by running tfsec on your project with the --print-rego-input flag. Combining this with the jq tool is very helpful:

tfsec --print-rego-input | jq '.aws.s3.buckets[0].name'
  "endline": 3,
  "explicit": true,
  "filepath": "/home/liamg/rego-playground/terraform/",
  "managed": true,
  "startline": 3,
  "value": "secure-bucket"

For more information about the input structure, you can review the entire schema in code form by studying the state.State Go struct defined in the defsec source code. All property names are converted to lower-case for consistency, to make writing policies easier.

You may have noticed that the policy checks, instead of just This is because the property contains more than just the value of the property, it also contains various metadata about where this property value was defined, including the filename and line number of the source Terraform file. You can see an example of this metadata in the jq output above.

The res object which is returned should be created with the defsec.result() function. This is the magic that ensures line numbers and file numbers can be reported when a policy fails. The function takes two parameters:

  • msg This parameter is a string which explains the specific issue which has been encountered, e.g. MFA is not enabled for this user
  • source This parameter is the property or object where the problem was encountered.

If you are writing a policy which has no meaningful source parameter/object, you can return a simple string from the rule instead.

Applying Rego Policies

You can ask tfsec to apply your custom Rego policies by using the --rego-policy-dir flag to specify the directory containing your policies.

Policies will be loaded recursively starting at this directory, and so can be organised using nested subdirectories if desired.

If this flag is not specified, no local directories will be scanned for rego policies.