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I've noticed one of the headless computers in my network is constantly polling the VNC port on another computer. My problem is, that when I see the port from which it has connected (with tcpdump) and try to find the process with netstat -anp|grep PORT, the process is already killed and nothing is found (the process seems to live for less than a millisecond).

Is there something similar to tcpdump that would report process names & PIDs? Or some smart way of doing strace to capture the program?

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Try auditctl, it will help. Enabling below rule can flood your system so use just form debugging.

auditctl -a exit,always -S execve

reference : https://linux.die.net/man/8/auditctl

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