Case Study: Smallbizapalooza

August 23, 2016

Company Background is one of three websites founded and run by Ivana Taylor. Taylor brings a passion for small business marketing to her many pursuits, striving to share with others the tools and tips she has learned. The concept for Smallbizapalooza was to create a platform where entrepreneurs could engage with brands and experts who are committed small business success. Taylor describes her goal, “The idea was to open a space where experts could share their success strategies, answer small business questions and entrepreneurs could learn about the best books, brands, tools and strategies that could help them succeed.”

Taylor thinks of Smallbizapalooza as a “channel” where she produces sponsored content from relevant brands and influencers. The result is a WordPress website that offers everything from interviews with successful entrepreneurs, to marketing and general business practices, interactive chats and discussions, and educational videos with tips from a variety of experts.


Smallbizapalooza’s success is due in no small part to her regularly active online community. That’s why when Taylor noticed an unusual increase in traffic to the website she was quick to investigate. Taylor describes discovering the pharmaceutical hack, “I went to Google and searched “site:” and that’s when I saw all the hacked pages.” She was alarmed, “I was scared to think about how the malware impacted the website. I was concerned that I was the cause of malware spreading to my audience and that’s very sad.”

At the recommendation of her hosting provider, Taylor reached out to SiteLock for a solution. The SiteLock team quickly identified that Smallbizapalooza had been the target of a pharmaceutical hack. Hackers had taken over Smallbizapalooza to advertise the sale of prescription drugs. Google recognized the hack and warned Taylor’s clients not to proceed to the website.

Solution and Result

SiteLock knew the pharmaceutical ads needed to be removed immediately. Expert Services performed a manual clean and installed SiteLock SMART, Secure Malware and Removal Tool, as well as SiteLock TrueShield web application firewall, thus providing a complete security solution.

SMART provides a daily, comprehensive website file analysis on Smallbizapalooza. When malware is detected, the scanner automatically removes it. The SiteLock team used SMART to analyze over 15,530 files for Smallbizapalooza. It was able to identify the malicious code that was placing the ads on Taylor’s website and causing Google to flag it. SiteLock removed the malware and returned Smallbizapalooza to working order.

TrueShield was installed to protect Smallbizapalooza from future attacks. Current analysis shows that TrueShield has already blocked over 1,000 malicious bot access attempts since the attack, keeping Smallbizapalooza up and running!

Together with SiteLock, Taylor was able to get Smallbizapalooza cleaned and back in order within a week and return to sharing great advice and motivating the business community. After this experience Taylor shared, “You can certainly say that hacks are inevitable—but when it happens to you, it’s frustrating because fixing it is a delicate process and you need to work with someone who can do it quickly and safely.”

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