Facebook’s messaging service WhatsApp was deemed to be a step closer to winning a lawsuit against an Israeli company it accused of spying, after the company failed to attend a court hearing in the US, Reuters reported.

WhatsApp took legal action against NSO Group in October 2019, accusing it of using malware to conduct surveillance on users. The messaging company uncovered the suspect activity in May 2019.

Reuters reported WhatsApp requested a default decision from the court on 2 March, after NSO Group failed to attend a hearing. A default judgement could see NSO Group penalised in the form of damages and injunctions.

The company told the news agency it would continue to seek to hold the Israeli business to account in the US courts.

In legal documents, WhatsApp said it made repeated efforts to serve NSO Group with legal documents, including sending emails to senior management and posting physical copies to board members, Reuters reported.

NSO Group argued the default notice wouldn’t stand, telling Reuters WhatsApp had failed to properly serve the required documentation.