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I'm trying to interpret this video demonstration by F-Secure of the big cold-boot attack discovered last year.

  1. What is happening at the 50-second mark?
  2. Why does he insert the USB boot-device before doing whatever he does next? Was this necessary?

Thanks.

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What is happening at the 50-second mark?

Looks like a JTAG-probe or similar, possibly to reset firmware passwords.

Why does he insert the USB boot-device before doing whatever he does next? Was this necessary?

No, it wasn't necessary, except perhaps to prevent the machine from booting to the installed OS, thus overwriting more of the RAM if it turned on by accident.

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