Kristin Crowe introduced Michael, a club member. At the age of 14, Michael built his first  computer with the help of his dad, Dale, and a base engineer. Michael was selected as one of 43 gifted persons in a competition across Canada. Since the age of 17, he has led several development teams through various systems projects for different  companies and services. In 1995, Michael created NESDA Technologies Ltd. and currently employs a team of 18 people.  He has built two data centres in Canada. In his spare time, Michael is a movie and live theatre buff; he enjoys home renovations and ballroom dancing lessons (with Rotarian Margaret Seu), and he frequents live concerts.
Michael started off his presentation reminding us that we are all familiar with the old fashioned outhouse and many of us remember needing to go to the bathroom with the aid of a flashlight. Today, indoor plumbing is the norm, except for the remote cottage areas where an outhouse may still serve this need. In today’s society we also have a permanently manned space station, built by many countries, in a collaborative effort of the world’s superpowers and their amazing scientists. We are all somewhere between outhouses and space stations when it comes to technology.
When he first started with computers the unlimited potential of these devices came to us on the form of interactive games like “Pong” and then systems evolved – we had spreadsheets and word processors. We had better monitoring for quality control and then robotics became commonplace in manufacturing. Each new step has been
Natural evolution of the previous one. And now we are in a time when connectivity becomes a part of everyday life, as evidenced by your blue tooth in your car, and your smart phone, and your downloaded music. We all think this is amazing. The best of the best allows things like Google drive, which virtually takes over your car with your personalized settings. Our watches can now be Garmins or fit bits which not only tell time, but let us monitor heart rates, steps, tell us when we get a text or a phone call, and report our daily steps to the Internet. Refrigerators are sold which can keep track of the food and give you a reminder to stop for groceryies on the drive home. The high end ones can even place an order to the grocery store for you and have the goods delivered to your door. Thermostats are sold that allow Ontario Hydro to control the heat in your home. On the surface we can understand Ontario’s need to conserve our Hydro dollars, but we are used to adjusting the heat in our own homes. We can, alternatively, get a smart thermostat from Lowe’s or Home Depot that allows us to control the heat via our smart phones, all because of the Internet.
Now we have a phrase, “the Internet of Things” …. It refers to a collection of devices that that you can control based on the whim of the moment. Turn down the heat. Turn on a light. Turn off the stove.  Unlock the front door.
My purpose today is to bring all of this to your attention. We have so many devices that are controlled by computers and are connected to the Internet, and some of these need monitoring. Medical implants can communicate through Bluetooth and send information directly to the doctor, who can make changes with the heart monitor from his/her office. The speed with which the Internet of things is developing is so fast that most companies fail to pay attention to security. We can talk about the online security and that web page that pops up and insists that you need help. Or the University that gets hacked with Ransomware. We can see how easy it is to steal a Tesla (video) – and how easy it is for a hacker to steal your password so that you cannot access your own car.
We all believe we are invincible, but we can all become victims. The best precaution is knowledge. We invite hackers into our homes through cell phones or the latest electronic do-dads.  What do we do? It is simple:
  • Change your password\
  • Don’t have the same password for everything
  • Don’t use simple passwords – make them complex with numbers and symbols and upper and lower case letters.
  • Don’t tell ANYONE your password.
  • Don’t write your password on a sticky note to post on your computer.
  • If any device can be password protected, then protect it.
  • Keep a copy of your passwords outside of your house.
  • Finally, the advice your mother gave you is true – if it seems too good to be true, it likely is.  It is likely someone is trying to steal your password.