Following the defacement of its Web site, the South Australian Liberal Party will terminate its contract with a Canberra-based hosting company on Friday, February 3.
The Liberal Party homepage will now be hosted by Netspeed. The previous host could not be named.
The defacement took place on January 17, 2006, when an image of a Turkish warrior, complete with bow replaced the normally gleaming banner of Prime Minister John Howard with South Australian Liberal honcho Rob Kerin. The warrior stood atop the words "We Are Your Nightmare".
The Web site previously used the URL www.sa.liberals.org.au. As a result of the defacement, and the new hosting contract, the URL now is www.saliberals.org.au.
Ryan Story, IT manager for the South Australian Liberal Party, confirmed the defacement was the motivator to switch hosting companies and said the breach was utterly disappointing.
"In recent times we have had some problem with hosting and we moved as a result of the defacement as we were utterly disappointed with the services we had received from our previous host as it was previously considered to be a good company," Story said.
"We learnt that when you are looking for a company to host an ASP-based Web site running IIS it is important that the hosting company has security as a high priority.
"I initially noticed the homepage in the morning and our logs showed the defacement had not been there that long; as soon as it was bought to my attention we returned a back-up copy of the homepage. It was surprising, but I do not think it is part of a targeted attack."
The homepage has survived legitimate attacks in the past. According to Story, the South Australian Liberals were targeted by a domestic hacking group during the 1998 federal election, which saw the profiles of cabinet ministers defaced.
Since the attack, the hacker, who goes by the handle aLpTurkTegin, defaced nearly 20 Australian-owned private sector Web sites, including the message board of the Christian-oriented site connexion.net.au.