Skip to main content


TIL: Big Ben

An interesting side-channel attack—that the Britished used—during World War Two…

During World War Two, BBC News was broadcast to Nazi-occupied Europe. Each news programme opened with a live broadcast of Big Ben tolling the hour – the magical sound of freedom. Ingenious German physicists found a way to determine the weather conditions in London based on tiny differences in the tone of the broadcast ding-dongs. This information offered invaluable help to the Luftwaffe. When the British Secret Service discovered this, they replaced the live broadcast with a set recording of the famous clock.

— Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari