I know that we've already had some defects in SSL/TLS, like Heartbleed, POODLE, FREAK and others, but all of these were rather localized problems:
- Heartbleed was an easily exploitable bug in OpenSSL, a specific implementation;
- POODLE was a timing attack on SSL3, which is outdated;
- FREAK was an attack on export suites, a deliberate vulnerability caused by legislation.
However, suppose we had a defect with the following properties:
- It was originally already present in TLS 1.0, but went undetected all this time and wasn't removed in 1.1 or 1.2.
- The defect is in the spec and is not dependent on the implementation;
- The defect is a fundamental shortcoming in the spec and a simple band-aid fix won't suffice.
- The defect is easily exploitable by any attacker to enable listening in on an encrypted connection in real-time.
Now, I'm not familiar enough with the TLS spec to know if and where such a defect is possible (and I hope such a defect is not present), but even with all the scrutiny that the TLS spec has been subjected to, it is not 100% impossible.
In case a defect with the above properties were to be discovered before the end of the year, what would be the consequence for the internet?