Seeking details on how a web site can give you a virus

A friend got a virus; the woman who repaired the machine said it could have come from visiting a bad page. But I know that my friend is very careful, never opens suspicious emails, knows better than to accept any files of any kind from friends, never clicks on anything suspicious, never installs any software, knows where the risks are, etc.

So now I'd like to get more details about how these things work. Is it really possible that you can pick up a virus from a bad page? (Another friend claims he got a virus by somehow visiting a page called, or, or something like that, rather than the real Norton page.) I'd like to get some details on *exactly* how this works.

Can anyone refer me to any material explaining how this works, such as a web page somewhere, a book (I know there are a bunch of books about viruses), etc? Thanks.
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